Greater Soapfish
Rypticus saponaceus
    Ecological Descriptors
Habitat Size (cm) Diet Behaviour Sex 
Co, R 35 Pisc, Cru (Noct) I PGH
Body elongated and laterally compressed, with a rounded dorsal fin. Fleshy fins. Color mottled, varying from drab reddish brown to gray, and varying in shade often with a green or blue cast.
Pale blurred spots, about the size of the pupil or smaller, on body and dorsal fin.

A solitary species inhabiting shallow water on bottoms with mixed sand and rocks, as well as around reefs, down to 140 m. Often found lying motionless against rocks. Secretes copious mucus which makes its surface slimy and when disturbed the slime turns into a soapy foam. The mucus contains grammistin, a haemolytic / ichthyotoxic peptide released in response to stress, deterring predators. Primarily nocturnal, but not uncommon to encounter it in daytime. 

It feeds on crustaceans and fishes, and has a toxic mucus that covers its skin. Its maximum length is 35 cm, but is commonly found to 25 cm

Life Cycle:
Protogynous hermaphrodites, with females able to change sex to male. This is not uncommon among the serranids. Rypticus spp are unique, though, in that a fish has both male and female reproductive tissues which are separate on the cellular level, but are wrapped around each other in the gonads.

Pair spawning. Oviparous; Pelagic eggs and larvae.

Large young >65 mm

Greater Soapfish