- History and Culture
Myripristis murdjan of the order of Beryciformes (Sawbellies) and family of Holocentridae (Squirrelfishes, Soldierfishes), is commonly known as the Pinecone soldierfish, Blotcheye soldierfish, Crimson squirrelfish, or Crimson squirrelfish.
Its overall body colour is of a silvery pink shade with scales rimmed red. Its opercular margin is black and all the fins are red. There is a sub marginal band in each caudal fin lobe and the leading edges of median fins are white. There is a blotch over the eye, which is one of its distinguishing features. The inner pectoral axis has numerous small scales. It has a total of 11 dorsal spines, 13 to 15 dorsal soft rays, 4 anal spines and 11 to 14 anal soft rays.
This species is present from the Red Sea to East Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East of Samoa, North of the Marshall Islands, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands and South East and Western coasts of Australia. The Pinecone soldierfish has a recorded depth range of between 1 to 50m. Its habitat ranges is from reef flats, shallow lagoons to seaward reefs and it generally dwells in crevices and caves.
This fish species is nocturnal, and its diet consists of zooplankton. It is oviparous and its eggs and larvae are planktonic.
According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorized as being of ‘Least Concern’ as it is common and widespread with no major threats. No declines in populations have been documented as they are abundant enough to withstand minor commercial fisheries. No conservation measures are in place for this species, but it is present in many MPAs within its range.
This species can reach a maximum of 60cm. It is also very shy; usually hides when divers get too close.