Graysby. Source: Florent Charpin/www.reefguide.org
Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Graysbys range in length from 15 to 43 centimeters. They have relatively thick bodies and large lips. They are generally reddish brown to gray with organgish brown spots covering their bodies. They have several dark spots along the base of their dorsal fin and their tail is more rounded than most similarly-sized seabasses.
Graysbys live in sea grass beds and coral reefs to depths of 170 meters.
Graysbys are generalist carnivores that feed throughout the day, with feeding peaks at dawn and dusk. Their diet includes small fishes such as brown chromis, blue chromis, bicolor damselfish, and yellow goatsfish, and crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs, and mantid shrimps. Juvenile graysbys feed on shrimps and tiny fishes
They are sedentary during the daytime, adopting a solitary and secretive behavior, hidden in the reef.
Graysbys are protogynous hermaphrodites, who can change sex from female to male. They spawn as pairs within territories. They release their gametes in the water column where fertilization occurs. After the eggs hatch, the larvae enter the pelagic stage where they remain until they settle on the reef. Juvenile graysys often seek shelter near the reef and are sometimes found living in the outer ridges of giant barrel sponges. They may live for approximately eight years.
Graysbys 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 Graysbys swim above the reef waiting to catch any prey attempting the escape eel and octopus predators.
The graysby is not considered to be a species at risk of imminent extinction; it is classified by the IUCN as a taxon of Least Concern.
References and Further Reading
- Encyclopedia of Life. Curator: C.Michael Hogan. 2011.Cephalopholis cruentata (Lacepède, 1802)
- Fishbase. 2010. Cephalopholis cruentata Graysbys
- P.Humann and N.Deloach (Editors) 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