Cornetfishes & trumpetfishes

The trumpetfishes and cornetfishes are found in all of the world's tropical oceans. Their huge geographical range, coupled with the fact that there are only a few species of each, make them interesting for dispersal studies and biogeographic analyses.

As their names suggest these fishes exhibit an elongated, fusiform body shape with a horn-shaped mouth. They often congregate in large schools of herbivorous fish, blending in with them and striking at other prey. They have been observed to orient vertically in the water to fool prey into thinking they are seagrass or coral. They feed on small forage fish and crustaceans. Some might say they resemble giant pipefish, and share many of the same behaviors.

Found at depths of up to 200 metres, these fish can disperse relatively far. They inhabit coral and rocky reef slopes. For the most part they appear to be relatively unthreatened, although coral loss may be having an impact on some populations. See the individuals species profiles below to get to know them better. 

Aulostomidae (Trumpetfishes)

Photo Scientific Name Common Name(s) IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
74137_orig Aulostomus chinensis
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Chinese trumpetfish, flutemouth, painted flutemouth, stickfish, spiny-backed trumpet LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indian &
Tropical Pacific
62190_orig A. maculatus
Valenciennes, 1841
Atlantic trumpetfish, Caribbean
trumpetfish, trumpetfish
LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl

Western Atlantic

55515_orig A. strigosus
Wheeler, 1955
Trumpetfish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl South- eastern Atlantic, Brazil

Fistulariidae (Cornetfishes)

Photo Scientific Name Common Name (s) Red List Status Profile Range
04772_orig Fistularia commersonii
Ruppell,1838
Bluespotted cornetfish, reef cornetfish, smooth flutemouth LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Indian & Pacific Oceans, Mediterranean
39132_orig F. corneta
Gilbert & Starks, 1904
Pacific cornetfish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl E. Pacific
89624_orig F. petimba
Lacepede, 1803
Red cornetfish LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Global tropical
45731_orig F. tabacaria Linnaues, 1758 Bluespotted cornetfish, unarmed trumpetfish, LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Atlantic

IUCN Red List key

EX = Extinct 
EW = Extinct in the Wild 
CR = Critically Endangered 
EN = Endangered 
VU = Vulnerable 
NT = Near Threatened 
LC = Least Concern 
DD = Data Deficient 
NE = Not Evaluated

(Click here for a full explanation of IUCN Red List categories.)

A note on ‘Data Deficient’ species: Species that are assessed as ‘Data Deficient’ are deemed to have insufficient information known about them to carry out a proper conservation assessment. Although such species are not assessed as threatened, we may find out that they in fact are, once enough data is obtained.


Banner image of leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) by Gaetano Gargiulo/Guylian Seahorses of the World