Batfish belong to the genus platax

In Mauritius we see only three types: the longfin batfish, (Platax teira), the orbicular batfish (Platax orbicularis) and the Boers batfish (Platax boersi).

The juveniles differ from the adult fish and live in small groups in the lagoon in the surf zone among the rocks, often under human constructions or dead trees. They resemble dead leaves floating near the bottom, tugged here and there by the movement of the surf. They feed on small crustaceans and marine worms.


Longfin batfish (Platax teira)

Platax teira

This is a light-toned fish that can change color very rapidly, shifting between golden and brown. It has a square snout-shaped head.

It lives in large groups (numbering thousands in some cases) and may be mixed in with the other species.

This is the commonest of the batfish and is attracted by the color yellow. It is not unusual therefore to see a small number of braver individuals leave the protection of the larger group to follow divers with yellow fins or yellow wetsuits. They even sometimes bring their mouths up against yellow fins.



Orbicular batfish (Platax orbicularis)

Platax orbicularis en banc


This fish also lives in large groups travelling sideways down-current. It is mainly seen on reefs down to 50m but more often in the 0-30m range. It is a somewhat shyer than the longfin batfish.



Boers batfish (Platax boersi)

Platax de Boers


Smaller and rarer in our waters – the Boers batfish is particularly recognizable for its color – golden highlights – and its almost totally circular shape. It is often confused with the orbicular batfish.

The pelvic fins of the Boers batfish are completely black in color and are a little more developed that those of its cousins.

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