Hemigymnus melapterus   (Bloch,  1791) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: 36-90 cm.

Color: Varies drastically with age and sex. Juveniles and sub adults are almost white anteriorly and abruptly dark green and black posteriorly, those under about 8 cm have a bright yellow tail which slowly fades with growth. The colorful pink and blue facial markings around the eyes of juveniles spreads with growth to cover nearly the entire head of large adults.

Height 2.6-2.7, 3.2-3.3 in length with caudal. Head 2.6-2.7, 3.2-3.3 in length with caudal. Height of head 1.1-1.2 in its length. Eye 5.7-8, 2.5-5.1 in snout and 1.3-2 in somewhat convex inter orbital space. Mouth small, horizontal. Maxillary by far not reaching to below anterior nostril. Teeth somewhat compressed, specially in the lower jaw, with rounded tops, in a single series, followed lingually by a few molari-form teeth. Anteriorly in both jaws two almost horizontal canines, those of the upper jaw longer than those of the lower jaw . Lower and posterior part of cheeks with a few rows of thin scales, imbedded in the skin. Posterior and inferior preopercular limb naked. About 16 rows of scales before dorsal, the 10 anterior rows consisting of small thin scales, imbedded in the skin. Dorsal spines stiff and pungent, the first shorter than eye in large specimens, longer than eye in smaller ones. The last spine longer than eye, twice as long as eye in small specimens. Soft dorsal higher than spinous part. First anal spine minute, less pungent than following, third longest, somewhat shorter than longest dorsal spine. Soft anal as deep as soft dorsal. Pectorals rounded, as long as snout or as snout and eye. Ventrals pointed, slightly shorter. Caudal truncate or slightly rounded. Lips thick with age.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Labrus melapterus Bloch, 1791
Tautoga melapterus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1839
Tautoga melapterus Richardson, 1843
Tautoga melapterus Bleeker, 1849
Tautoga melanopterus Bleeker, 1860
Hemigymnus melanopterus Gunther, 1862
Hemigymnus melapterus Bleeker, 1862
Hemigymnus melanopterus Kner, 1865
Hemigymnus melanopterus Gunther, 1866
Labrichthys bicolor Day, 1870
Hemigymnus melapterus Day, 1877
Cheilolabrus magnilabris Alleyne and Macleay, 1877
Hemigymnus melanopterus Klunzinger, 1880
Hemigymnus melanopterus Gunther, 1881
Hemigymnus melanopterus Macleay, 1881
Hemigymnus melapterus Jordan and Snyder, 1902
Hemigymnus melapterus Jordan and Seale, 1906
Hemigymnus melapterus Steindachner, 1906
Hemigymnus melapterus McCulloch, 1915
Hemigymnus melapterus Fowler, 1928
Hemigymnus melapterus Fowler and Bean, 1928
Thalliurus melapterus McCulloch, 1929
Hemigymnus melapterus P. J. Schmidt, 1930
Hemigymnus (Cheilolabrus) melapterus Whitley, 1932
Hemigymnus melapterus Herre, 1936
Thalliurus melapterus Roxas and Martin, 1937
Halichoeres melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Hamigymnus melapterus (Bloch, 1791)
Hemigymnus melapturus (Bloch, 1791)

Common Name (s)
• Blackeye Thicklip (English)
• Thokka
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, marketed fresh, flesh is of high quality, aquarium, gamefish, ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Small invertebrates, crustaceans, polychaete worms, mollusks, brittle stars


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andamans INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North Reef Island INDIA
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Wafar, MVM (2003) Checklists of reef fauna Available at - http://www.reefindia.org/
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at - www.coralcay.org
  • Rouphael, T; Turak, E and Jon, B Seagrasses and mangroves of Yemen's Red Sea 41-89
  • Ohman, M; Rajasuriya, A and Olafsson, E (1997) Reef fish assemblages in north western Sri Lanka: Distribution patterns and influences of fishing practises Enviornmental Biology of Fishes Kluwer Academic Publishers 49 45-61
  • Kemp, JM (1998) Zoogeography of the coral reef fishes of the Socotra Archipelago Journal of Biogeography 25 919-933
  • Durville, P; Chabanet, P and Quod, JP (2003) Visual Census of the Reef Fishes in the Natural Reserve of the Glorieuses Islands (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean J. Mar. Sci. WIOMSA 2 95-104
  • Chabanet, P and Patrick, D (2005) Reef Fish Inventory of Juan De Novas Natural Park (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean Journal Marine Sciences 2005 WIOMSA 4 145-162
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at - http://www.fishbase.org
  • Beaufort, LF (1940) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago A. J. Reprints agency, Karol Bagh, New Delhi 8 508 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 2 Available at - http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ad468e/ad468e00.HTM#Contents
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Rao, GC; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1994) A faunal exploration of the North Reef Island sanctuary, North Andaman Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 10(1&2) 68-81 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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 - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/569/1/Bulletin_8.pdf
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/3536/1/Special_Publication_No_72.pdf
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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

Page last updated on:2011-08-09

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