HOGFISH: BAHAMAS REEF FISH (31)
Hogfish. Fisherman’s delight… getting ‘high on the hog’. This wrasse species Lachnolaimus maximus is a reef denizen, especially where gorgonians are found. It has the distinction of being the only known member of its genus, and because it is IUCN listed as vulnerable, there are strict regulations governing bag, size, and gear limits to protect the species from overfishing.
The hogfish gets its name from its long ‘pig-like’ snout, coupled with its rootling behaviour on the sea floor for crustacean prey.
GENDER STUDIES: IT’S COMPLICATED
The hogfish is a sequential hermaphrodite, meaning it changes sex during different life stages. Juvenile hogfish are female, but mature into males at around 3 years old.
Hogfish social groups are organized into harems, where one male will protect a group of females in his territory and mate with them.
CAUTIONARY NOTE Capt. Rick, a loyal follower, has made another of his pertinent comments: “A bit of caution is necessary here! There is some history in the Bahamas of mild to severe Ciguatera poisoning from Hogs. Our M.O. was to only eat Hogs no larger than 5 or 6 lbs. Temporary or permanent blindness, paralysis, and even death is possible with bigger Hogs”. Ciguatera is also a problem with, for example, ‘cuda on Abaco. Those caught on the Marls (west) side are ok to eat; those from the east side have to be treated with circumspection…
Credits: all fantastic fish fotos – Melinda Riger at Grand Bahama Scuba