Dendrochirus biocellatus is the least frequently encountered of the lionfish inhabiting Kwajalein waters. It is not particularly rare, but it is strictly nocturnal and hides well during the day. They can be seen with some regularity on the seaward slope at night at depths of about 10 to 25m. We have also run across a couple of them on isolated small reefs surrounded by sand on the lagoon slope. The specific name biocellatus refers to the yellow-edged black spots on the soft dorsal fin posterior to the venomous spines. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of the adult specimens we see (at least three different individuals below) have three such spots rather than the two implied by the "bi" in the name. Like many fish, this has a number of common names; I've seen it called the Ocellated Lionfish, Twinspot Lionfish, Two-spot Turkeyfish, and my own favorite, the Fu Manchu Lionfish. Typical of species of Dendrochirus, the pectoral fins mostly consist of the membrane between the fin rays; on the upper part of the pectorals fins, the rays do not extend any farther than the membrane at all. Maximum size of this fish is reported to be about 120mm, although I've estimated a couple I've seen a bit larger.
The tiny juvenile below was less than 25mm long.
Created 27 June 2011
Updated 18 March 2016
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