Planehead Filefish – Stephanolepis hispidus

The Planehead Filefish is a species in the order of the Tetraodontiformes and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish.

Planehead Filefish - Stephanolepis hispidus Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Planehead Filefish – Stephanolepis hispidus


Stephanolepis hispidus has a laterally strongly compressed body. Its colour is bright with many brown, olive, yellow or green spots. Its fins also have a yellow colour. The eyes of the Planehead Filefish are clearly protruding and it also has the thick lips, which are common within the Tetraodontiformes. Above the eye, it has a horn, which it can also retract. The male can be distinguished from the female, as it has a kind of long thread at the beginning of the second dorsal fin.
Stephanolepis hispidus will reach a maximum length of 25cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Planehead Filefish is to be found above sea grass meadows and rocky or sandy ground, down to a depth of 300m.

When diving in the Canaries you can observe it very often.

It also occurs in the eastern Atlantic from the Canary Islands, along the west coast of Africa, to Angola, including Cape Verde and São Tomé. In the western Atlantic it can be found from Nova Scotia in Canada, along the coast of the USA, via Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, all the way to Uruguay.


Stephanolepis hispidus lives solitaire and feeds on small invertebrates.

Its spawning time is in summer.

It becomes 3 years old, reaching half of its maximum length after one year.

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