Discover this rather rare fish, the Pinecone Fish!
Where does his name, Monocentris Japonica, come from?
It should not be confused with the Cleidopus gloriamaris or Pineapple Fish. They are very similar but are not found in the same area. Cleidopus gloriamaris is bigger than the pinecone fish and lives deeper. The difference between these two aren't obvious. Your diving location is probably the best way to make the difference but I have noticed that the pinecone we have seen in Thailand and Myanmar waters is a lot brighter than its foreign counterparts.
Where does Pinecone fish live?
How to recognize it?
The Pinecone can measure up to 17 cm long. Its plump, round body is almost entirely covered with large, rough scales and sharp spines pointing backwards. The head is large, with mucous pits lined with rough ridges, and is armored with heavy bones. The snout is blunt and overhangs the wide mouth. The teeth are tiny and thin, present on the jaws.
There are two wells containing bioluminescent bacteria on the lower jaw, near the corners of the mouth, which are hidden when the mouth is closed. This photophore is green in young fish and becomes more red as they age. The first dorsal fin consists of 5 to 7 strong spines; the spines have no membrane and point alternately to the left and right. The second dorsal fin contains 12 soft rays.
What is his behavior?
The pineapple fish is moderately common in deep water, but due to its reticent nature, for some time after its initial discovery it was only known from specimens washed ashore by storms. While quite a rare encounter in the Andaman Sea, pineapple fish are regularly sighted in Thailand and Myanmar for the pleasure of scuba divers and underwater photographers.