Sand Tilefish
Malacanthus plumieri
    Ecological Descriptors
Habitat Size (cm) Diet Behaviour Sex 
Ben, S 60 Pisc, Cru, Wor, Ech Ter/ Harem PGH
Adult: Body long, varies in color from yellowish white to light bluish gray. Head with light yellow and bluish markings. Long dorsal and ventral fins. A
crescent tail, with a dark area on the upper central part.
Juvenile: Has a more distinct black spot at base of upper fin lobe and
yellow horizontal stripe on upper rear half of body.

Primarily a shallow-water benthic species, but recorded down to 153 m. It is found on sand, rubble or grassy areas near reefs and grass beds, near a source of mound-building material. Tunnel entrances can reach up to three metres in diameter, with the tunnel narrow and mounds near reefs and grass beds. It builds mounds of sand, coral rubble and shell fragments found excavated around the tunnel entrance. It feeds mainly on stomatopods ( Mantis Shrimps), fishes, polychaete worms, chitons, sea urchins, sea stars, amphipods and shrimps. The maximum size is about 60 cm, common to 45 cm. Males are usually larger than females

Life Cycle:
Males are usually larger than females. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, forming harems with occasional monogamous mating systems. Females each defend a feeding territory surrounding their home burrow and males control larger territories that encompass the defended areas of up to six females. Males have territories of about 1,000m2 with females to 250m2. It spawns above the bottom at dusk.
Sand Tilefish
Sand Tilefish Juvenile
Sand Tilefish
(C) Frank Krasovac
(C) Todd Huschka