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Sea Chubs

(Kyphosidae)

Fusiliers Tilefish

The 54 species of sea chubs have short heads, blunt snouts, and small mouths. They have strong, close-set teeth which are strangely shaped like hockey sticks and a single, continuous dorsal fin which can be folded into a scaly groove. They have a forked tail and are usually a drab colour and may have some bluish or yellowish stripes.

Sea chubs are largely herbivorous, feeding mainly on algae, with others being carnivorous, feeding on invertebrates found on the seafloor, rocks and corals. Very large schools of sea chubs can form in shallow rocky and coral reef areas for feeding.

Sea chubs also gather in large numbers for pelagic spawning.

2 species found on this page.

Topsail Drummer

Kyphosus cinerascens

The Topsail Drummer, Kyphosus cinerascens, is found in small to large schools in shallower reef areas where there is abundant algae growth. Their diet consists of invertebrates, algae and seaweed. When feeding as a large school, they can quickly overwhelm territorial damselfishes and surgeonfishes.

Topsail Drummer (Kyphosus cinerascens) @ Koh Haa

Kyphosus cinerascens @ Koh Haa

The Topsail Drummer is typically a silvery-grey fish with fine horizontal lines along the side, a pale stripe on the cheek, and a large tail fin.

The fish has a small bump over the eyes and a more pointed, downward angled snout that other fish of the same genus.

The dorsal fin runs the length of the fish and appears ?connected? to the anal fin.

Topsail Drummer (Kyphosus cinerascens) @ Koh Haa

School of Topsail Drummers @ Koh Haa

The Topsail Drummer is poisonous to humans and should not be eaten.

Lowfin Drummer

Kyphosus vaigiensis

Lowfin Drummer (Kyphosus vaigiensis) @ Koh Haa

Pair of Kyphosus vaigiensis @ Koh Haa

The Lowfin Drummer has two phases, the first having a silvery grey body with narrow bronze stripes, and the second phase with a darker body and numerous white spots. The Lowfin Drummer can rapidly change phase.

The rear dorsal fin is not elevated (as in the Topsail Drummer) and the outer edge of the anal fin is diagonal, aligning with the outer edge of the upper tail lobe.

The Lowfin Drummer grows to 45 cm and forms small to very large groups in rocky shore areas or above reef flats.

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Sea Chubs

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