The coney (scientific name: Cephalopholis fulva) is a member of the grouper/seabass family (Family Serranidae) that lives on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Also known by the common name deady, this species is a generalist carnivore, that is often found resting in the benthic portion of the epipelagic ocean depth zone, that portion of the sea that is penetrated by sunlight.
Coney. Source: Florent Charpin/www.reefguide.org
Coney in bicolor morp. Source: Florent Charpin/www.reefguide.org
Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Coneys range in length from 15 to 41 centimeters. They exhibit relatively thick bodies and large lips. Adult coneys present in a variety of color phases. Most commonly, they are reddish/brown or brown in color, with numerous small bluish dots covering their bodies. The bicolor variation is dark on the upper portion of the body, and lighter on the lower portion of the body. The golden variation is the least common color morph; such speciments manifest a bright yellow coloration. Coneys are best identified in the field by the two black dots on their lower lip and two black dots behind their dorsal fin.
Coneys usually hide in caves or under ledges during the day. Occasionally, they assume a blotched resting coloration.
Coneys are protogynous hermaphrodites (females change sex to males) that spawn in pairs within small groups containing one male and many females. Spawning typically occurs just before sunset. Both eggs and sperm are deposited in the water column where they eggs are fertilized. After the eggs hatch, the larvae enter the pelagic stage where they remain until they settle on the reef where they may live from four to five years.
Coneys sometimes use an interesting feeding strategy known as “nuclear hunting”. They form hunting association with moray eels or octopuses. While the eels or octopuses enter into the reef looking for prey, the coneys swim above the reef waiting to catch any prey attempting the escape the eels/octopuses.
The coney is not considered to be a species at risk.
References and Further Reading
- Encyclopedia of Life. Curator: C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Cephalopholis fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Fishbase. 2010. Cephalopholis fulva Coney
- P.Humann and N.Deloach (Editor) 1994. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348078
- N.Deloach. 1999. Reef Fish Behavior, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348280