Platax orbicularis   (Forsskal,  1775) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sultanate of Oman

Size: 25-60 cm.

Color: Greyish brown with broad dark cross bands, the first through eye often bordered with narrow black broken lines, the second through base of pectoral and a more diffuse and very obscure band from soft dorsal to anal. Dorsal and anal greyish brown, posterior rays distally edges with white in small specimens. Caudal dusky basally, rest of the fin yellowish. Pectoral aple yellowish. Ventral blackish.

The body is deep, rhomboid and very compressed with its head profile somewhat angular. Head 3.0-3.2 in standard length, 3.8-4.1 in total length. Depth of body 0.9-1.0 in standard length, 1.15-1.25 in total length. Eye diameter 2.8-3.1 in head, 0.8-0.9 in snout and 1.2-1.3 in interorbital space. The small, terminal mouth bears tricuspid teeth. The middle cusp of each tooth is the largest. The body is covered with finely ciliated and small scales. The dorsal, anal and pelvic fins are very long in young fish but become progressively shorter with age. The anal fin has 3 spines and 25-27 soft rays. The pectoral fins are short and rounded and the caudal fin is slightly double emarginate.
Number of spines and rays in the dorsal fin: V, 35-38; number of spines and rays in the anal fin: III, 26-28; number of rays in the pectoral fin: ii, 15-16; number of spines and rays in the ventral fin: I, 5; number of scale rows along the lateral line: 54-59; number of horizontal scale rows usually counted from origin of the dorsal fin to the lateral line and from anal origin to the lateral line: 20-22+39-43; gill raker count: 8+1+9-10.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Platax obricularis (Forsskal, 1775)
Chaetodon orbicularis Forsskal, 1775
(Senior synonym)
Chaetodon vespertilio Bloch, 1787
(Junior synonym)
Platax blochii Cuvier, 1831
(Junior synonym)
Platax ehrenbergii Cuvier, 1831
(Junior synonym)
Platax guttulatus Cuvier, 1831
(Junior synonym)
Platax pinnatus (non Linnaeus, 1758)
(Misapplied name)
Platax vespertilio (Bloch, 1787)
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon vespertilio Lacepede, 1803
Chaetodon vespertilio Shaw, 1803
Platax orbicularis Ruppell, 1828
Platax vespertilio Ruppell, 1837
Chaetodon vespertilio Bennett, 1830
Platax orbicularis Richardson, 1842
Platax vespertilio Cantor, 1850
Platax blochii Bleeker, 1850
Platax vespertilio Bleeker, 1853
Platax orbicularis Bleeker, 1854
Platax vespertilio Gunther, 1860
Platax vespertilio Playfair and Gunther, 1866
Platax orbicularis Playfair, 1867
Platax orbicularis Klunzinger, 1870
Platax orbicularis Gunther, 1876
Platax vespertilio Bleeker, 1877
Platax vespertilio Day, 1888
Platax vespertilio Lutken, 1880
Platax vespertilio Macleay, 1881
Platax vespertilio Klunzinger, 1884
Platax vespertilio Sauvage, 1891
Platax vespertilio Fowler, 1903
Platax orbicularis Picaglia, 1894
Platax orbicularis Fowler, 1904
Platax vespertilio Steindachner, 1906
Platax orbicularis Jordan and Seale, 1906
Platax orbicularis Evermann and Seale, 1907
Platax orbicularis Jordan and Seale, 1907
Platax orbicularis M. Weber, 1913
Platax vespertilio Hora, 1924
Platax vespertilio Barnard, 1927
Platax vespertilio Ahl, 1927
Platax orbicularis Herre and Montalban, 1927
Platax orbicularis Fowler, 1928
Platax orbicularis Fowler and Bean, 1929
Platax orbicularis Herre, 1931
Platax orbicularia (Forsskal, 1775)
Platax vespertilio (Bloch, 1787)

Common Name (s)
• Orbicular Batfish (English)
• Circular Spadefish (English)
• Batfish (English)
• Gundolimas (Mahl)
• Akoli (Malayalam)
• Patha (Malayalam)
• Round Spadefish
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Aquarium, fisheries, aquaculture, Ornamental fish)
Cultured:  Yes

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Estuarine, Rocky, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Benthic invertebrates and microalgae, algae and small fishes.


• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kalpeni INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Red Sea
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Great Nicobar Island INDIA (Record: 08/2000-07/2003)
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Al-Abdessalaam, TZS (1995) Marine species of the Sultanate of Oman p 412 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2003) Habitat distribution and species diversity of coral reef fishes in the reefslope of the Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 45(1) 88-98 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Weber, M; Beaufort, LF (1936) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago Print times, Pataudi house, Daryaganj, New Delhi 7 607 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 3 Available at -
  • Rajaram, R; Srinivasan, M; Khan, SA and Kannan, L (2004) Ichthyofaunal diversity of great Nicobar Island, Bay of Bengal Journal of Indian fisheries association 31 13-26 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Rajaram, R and Nedumaran, T (2009) Ichthyofaunal diversity in great Nicobar biosphere reserve, Bay of Bengal Journal of Threatened Taxa Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society 1(3) 166-169 Available at -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at -
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-12-02

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