Cantherines pardalis – Honeycomb Filefish
Cantherines pardalis was described by Rüppell in 1837. Their common name is Honeycomb Filefish or Honeycomb Leatherjacket. They belong to the family Monacanthidae or the Filefish.
The species name pardalis is derived from Latin and consists of two parts. Pardus means panther or leopard and alis means related to. A reference to the Honeycomb pattern on the flank which is somewhat similar to the leopard spotted pattern.
Cantherines pardalis can grow to a maximum length of about 25 centimetres. The colour varies. The common name Honeycomb Filefish is given to the grey coloured fish with an orange-brown honeycomb structure visible on the flank. Sometimes they are completely brown or mottled grey. The fins are pale yellow.
Most of them have a white spot on top of the caudal peduncle, just behind the dorsal fin. They share this white spot with Cantherines pullus.
Cantherines pardalis can usually be found in shallow waters up to a depth of 20 metres. They live on the reefs where they look for food and protection. They are rather shy and hide directly between the coral when you approach them. Young animals can sometimes be found among floating seaweed.
The distribution area is enormous. They can be found in tropical waters in the East Atlantic, the Red Sea, east to the south of Japan, south to Australia and as far as the west coast of the United States. Near the Hawaii islands, Cantherines pardalis does not occur, there they are replaced by Cantherhines sandwichiensis.
In the aquarium, Cantherines pardalis can be fed with spirulina, nori, small invertebrates such as krill, mysis, artemia etc. In addition, sponge and zooplankton can be fed. They sometimes nibble at soft corals, but stony coral is not safe either. Larger invertebrates such as shrimps and crabs should not be kept together. Some specimens will try to eat them.
Due to the fact that the Honeycomb Filefish sometimes eats coral, it is not suitable for reef aquariums. They are best kept in a fish only aquarium. They do require a large tank, at least 1,000 litres. They are fairly shy and peaceful fish. Therefore, it is best to keep them with other relatively peaceful fish species of similar size.
John de Lange