Planehead filefish

Stephanolepis hispidus

Family Monacanthidae - filefish

Body deep, laterally compressed; skin rough, covered with minute scale plates; color tan to brown to greenish with irregular blotching and lines, generally with 2 large dark blotches on sides; 2 dorsal spines, 1st spine strongly barbed, originating over the back of eye, 2nd spine minute; no enlarged scales (tympanum) above pectoral fin base; no groove in front of eye or behind dorsal spines; gill slit small, nearly vertical; caudal peduncle with no spines; dorsal, anal and pectoral fins not branched; 2nd dorsal ray in males elongated; no pelvic fins; pelvic spine present; flap of skin in front of anal fin.
Similar Species
Similar to the pygmy filefish (S. setifer) but the planehead fish has fewer dark spots than the pygmy. The planehead also has more dorsal rays (30+ vs 29 or less) and more anal rays (31+ vs 30 or less). Aluterus species of filefishes have no pelvic spines. Other filefishes have spines on their caudal peduncle and/or a groove behind the dorsal spines. Differs from triggerfishes by having only 2 dorsal spines (2nd 1 minute).
Gulf and bay, common on reefs and around floating objects
Maximum Size
27.5 cm (11 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. II+29-35; A. 30-35 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits