Malacanthidae - tilefishes

Tilefishes are elongate slender fishes that live in burrows, mounds, caves or within reefs. Many build their own mounds out of sand, shell fragments and rubble. They have been observed diving head first into their burrows or mounds when they become alarmed. Tilefishes are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning their lives as females and later transforming into males. In mating, tilefishes may be monogamous or colonial. Some form harems where there is one male to several females. The females form a pecking order based on size, and the larger females get more breeding time with the male. If the male in the harem dies, the top female starts courting the other females and soon changes into a male. Tilefishes are important commercials fishes in some areas, but the FDA has issued warnings against consumption of large specimens due to high mercury levels.