Aulostomus chinensis commonly known as the Chinese trumpetfish or Painted Flutemouth. It is medium sized and can grow up to 80 cm in length. It is easily recognizable by its elongated compressed body, its long head and a tubular snout. Its dorsal fin is composed of two parts: the first is made up of isolated dorsal fin spines and the second is a small flexible ray fin, which is found just above the tail. The latter usually bears two black spots. It has two small pelvic fins in the middle of its body. The species can vary in colour, ranging from greyish to reddish brown with pale stripes or greenish to bright yellow with vertical bands.
Aulostomus chinensis can be found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans but not in the Red Sea. This species of trumpetfish is commonly found in the reefs of Mauritius and Bel Ombre. It prefers clear inshore and offshore coral and rocky reefs and reef slopes. Large adults can be found at depths of up to 200 meters, with both juveniles and adults found from shallow waters to the continental slope. Chinese trumpetfish are solitary, slow moving fishes, who use ambush and discrete tracking as a means to catch their prey. They may lie still horizontally or vertically behind corals or gorgonians until their prey comes close enough for them to catch it, or swim close to larger herbivorous fishes before ambushing their prey. Using their tubular snouts which they have the ability to extend, they feed on small fishes and crustaceans. Trumpetfishes are oviparous and spawning occurs in pelagic waters. When the fish larvae turn into juveniles they move to the epipelagic zone. Many larger juveniles can be found inhabiting coastal seagrass beds and coral reefs.
There are no known immediate threats to Aulostomus chinensis, and it is currently considered “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, as with other reef species, this fish has suffered habitat loss and degradation as a result of direct human impacts on the reefs. Climate change also poses a significant threat to its habitat through coral bleaching and ocean acidification.
The male trumpetfish carries the eggs until they are ready to hatch.