Ryan Photographic - Kuhliidae - Flagtails or Aholeholes


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Family Kuhliidae

According to FishBase there are 14 species of the Kuhliidae in the one genus Kuhlia.

In general kuhliids are relatively small carnivorous fishes. Most species are marine, schooling by day and dispersing at night to feed. However they are often an important component of tropical Pacific streams. In Fiji, for instance, three species (K. marginata, K. munda and K. rupestris pictured below) can be found together in lowland streams. One species, K. rupestris the rock flagtail (aka "Jungle perch"), penetrates some distance inland and is sometimes sought as a game fish by fly fishermen. Indeed, it was unsuccessfully introduced into Hawai'i (from Guam) in 1957 and released as a game fish, perhaps it was outcompeted by the endemic Hawaiian flagtail K. sandvicensis.

Lewis and Hogan (1987) studied sperm motility in K. rupestris and found no viability in freshwater. They concluded that adult Rock flagtails must return to the sea to spawn and suggested a salinity of 30 parts per thousand was probably optimal. Growth rates were around 2cm per year with females reaching much larger sizes than males.

Most of the photos below were taken using a video light and high ISO because my flash setup wasn't working at the time. Photographing these fish was an exercise in frustration as they are always moving, often quickly. When they do slow down or even stop it is typically inside the recesses of small caves where they prove frustratingly difficult to photograph.

 

Kuhlia marginata Dark-margined flagtail

Kuhlia marginata Dark-margined flagtail

FISH 0146 Kuhlia marginata Dark-margined flagtail, Vitilevu, Fiji.

Kuhlia munda Silver flagtail

Kuhlia munda

FISH 0119 Kuhlia munda, silver flagtail, Vitilevu, Fiji.

Silver flagtail

Kuhlia munda, Silver flagtail, Taveuni (aquarium photo of yound specimen).

Kuhlia rupestris Rock flagtail or Jungle perch

Kuhlia rupestris, Rock flagtail

FISH 0100 Kuhlia rupestris, Rock flagtail or Ika droka in Fijian, Vitilevu, Fiji.

 

 

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