Now here we have the family of the Ephippidae. The members are spade-shaped and their body is highly and laterally compressed. They have a lovely shiny, silvery appearance, broken by vertical faded black or lemon chiffon bands. Serving as camouflage, the bars will often obscure the eyes of a batfish or spadefish. The term ‘bat’ alludes to their yellow and black fins, conjuring visions of wings. Its laterally compressed body is equipped with scales of smaller size and the snout sticks out like a suction device. Their teeth resemble brushes.


The disk-like spadefish primarily eats algae and invertebrates, giving rise to the ‘omnivorous’ label. The batfish likes company in the shape of a partner or in a formation of large groups and does so, quietly inhabiting outer reef slopes. The mimetic talents of juvenile batfish are amazing. When roaming around mangrove roots, they tend to lie on one side to imitate floating or dead mangrove leaves.


Family Members


Orbicular/Circular Batfish

Size up to 50 cm (1,64 ft). Depth up to 30m (98,4ft)


The silvery body of the diurnal batfish, decorated with two vertical faded black bands, is shaped like a disc. The orbicular batfish is also known as the circular batfish, orbicular batfish and round batfish. The juvenile spadefish seeks shelter in lagoons with brackish water and in mangrove environments, floating motionless on one side, mimicking dead or drifting mangrove leaves. Adults are found in more open waters and at greater depth. Omnivorous as it is, it absorbs fish, invertebrates and algae.  In contrast with the longfin batfish it does not have a black pectoral spot. It roams around in schools or with a sole partner.


Longfin/Teira Batfish

Size up to 50 cm  (1,64 ft). Depth up to 30m (98,4ft)


Its name of classification arises from the long-shaped fins of the juveniles. The longfin batfish is similar in size and bears a striking resemblance with the circular batfish. They are categorized as bottom-dwellers in shallow coastal habitats and deeper offshore regions and do so in close harmony of a partner or in larger schools. The diurnal longfin batfish is also called the teira batfish, the longfin spadefish or the round-faced batfish.

Just like the orbicular batfish, it possesses a faded black band, decorating the eyes and the head. The coloration tends to a mixture of silver, grey or brownish. The longfin batfish is an omnivore. It will eat zooplankton, invertebrates, algae and jellyfish.