Greater soapfish

Greater soapfish
Greater soapfish
Grammistidae (Soapfishes)
Rypticus saponaceus
0 to 60 ft
The greater soapfish is easily recognized by both its appearance and its behavior. The body is arrow shaped with a concave head and upturned mouth. The tail is large and rounded. Generally, this fish is brownish in color but often mottled or indistinctly spotted. They often wedge themselves into crevices with only the tail showing. The greater soapfish grow to a length of 12 inches (30 cm). The greater soapfish is found throughout the Caribbean, Bermuda and south to Brazil. It is common, however due to its reclusive behavior, it is seldom noticed. It inhabits reefs from 15-70 feet (5-21 m). It is solitary and inactive usually hiding in a hole, resting on the bottom or up against ledges or coral heads. The scales are covered with mucous containing "grammistin" which is a foul tasting toxic substance that keeps other fish from eating them. The soapfish feeds on shrimp, crabs and small fish.

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