Be extremely careful of the sharp and venomous dorsal and anal spines of rabbitfish when handling them. To maximise their eating qualities these fish should be killed humanely by iki jime or a firm knock to the head, or by placing them in an ice slurry.
- Body olive green or brown above, silvery below; fish frequently with a dark patch below the lateral line. Adults become mottled when frightened. The dorsal and anal spines are venomous.
- The alternative name of happy moment describes the several hours of pain experienced by those who are spiked by these venomous spines. Exposing the affected area to hot water (as hot as can be tolerated, usually around 50°C or so) will deactivate the venom.
- Juveniles feed on filamentous algae, adults feed on leafy algae and seagrasses.
- This species occurs in tropical and subtropical estuaries throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
- In Australia these fish are found around the tropical and subtropical north of the country.
- They form schools which inhabit algal and seagrass flats, particularly in coral reef lagoons and on rocky reefs.
Fish Size Common Length:
15-20 cm, maximum size around 40 cm.