Fish Identification: Spanish Hogfish

Being a hogfish, the Spanish hogfish is part of the wrasse family.

Physical description

Spanish hogfish have the common appearance of most hogfish. Namely, the pointed snout that they use to root through the sea bottom. Spanish hogfish are 10-13 inches (25-33 cm) long, although fish who eat their Wheaties can definitely grow larger.

Spanish hogfish also have streamlined dorsal and anal fins which trail back. Along with the pointed tips of the caudal fin, this gives them an aerodynamic appearance.

Juvenile Spanish hogfish have an almost entirely yellow body, except for the upper front quarter, which is a purplish or possibly blue color. This is the Spanish hogfish's most distinguishing characteristic. As they get older, the yellow fades into darker colors, like brown.

Geography and habitat

Despite their name, Spanish hogfish are not from Spain. The live in the warm Caribbean waters, only as far north as southern Florida and down to Brazil.

They live on the reef at depths as shallow as 3 meters down to 30 meters. They are constantly prowling for food. Look for them rooting on the sea bottom, or, if you're fortunately, catch the juveniles cleaning other fish like snappers. Fish will open their mouths and gills, allowing the Spanish hogfish free access for cleaning.

Further reading


Juvenile photo by VenturaB.

Photo by brian.gratwicke