Marine Animal Encyclopedia
Whitetip Soldierfish Myripristis vittata
Soldierfish are nocturnal coral-reef residents that hide in groups in caves and beneath overhangs on steep reefs during the daytime. The whitetip soldierfish is red, as are most members of its family (Holocentridae). The leading edges of its median fins are white. At depth, where natural red light does not penetrate, the fish’s red color appears black or gray, providing it with camouflage, especially on the deeper parts of the reef. Like many nocturnal fish, the whitetip soldierfish has large eyes, which help it to spot planktonic animals by dim moonlight and then snap them up. It has a short, blunt snout, large scales, and a deeply forked tail. Divers have observed that some individuals in a group of whitetip soldierfish often swim along upside down.