Blackspot Pigfish

Bodianus Vulpinus
Blackspot Pigfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Bodianus Vulpinus
Other names Western Pigfish, Vulpine Pigfish, Western Blackspot Pigfish
Size Up to 32 cm (12.5 in)
Weight Up to 2 kg (4.4 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Deeper coastal waters amongst rocky reefs & sandy areas near rock & coral rubble
Depth Range 30 - 70 m (230 ft)
Blackspot Pigfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Blackspot Pigfish can be found along the southern and western coastlines of Australia, particularly in the deeper waters off Western Australia and South Australia.
  • Juvenile and female Blackspot Pigfish have a pale pink or orange body with black spots along their sides. As they transition into males, their coloration changes to a deeper red or maroon, with a black head and distinct blue markings on their fins.
  • Blackspot Pigfish are opportunistic predators, feeding on a variety of invertebrates and small fishes. Their diet includes crustaceans, molluscs, worms, and smaller fish species.
  • They are generally solitary or found in loose aggregations. They establish and defend territories around rocky outcrops, caves, and other suitable structures in their deep water habitats.
  • Blackspot Pigfish often engage in symbiotic relationships with cleaner fish. They visit cleaning stations where cleaner fish, such as cleaner wrasses, remove parasites and dead skin from their bodies. This mutualistic behaviour benefits both the Blackspot Pigfish and the cleaner fish.
  • They are protogynous hermaphrodites, transitioning from females to males. Breeding typically occurs during the warmer months, from late spring to early summer.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 8 – 10 years and up to 15.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

Blackspot Pigfish are targeted by recreational anglers in Australia. They are considered good table fare and are sought after for their firm, white flesh. Anglers typically target them in deeper waters, using baited hooks or lures. They are occasionally kept in home aquariums, it requires a relatively large tank due to its size and active nature. Observing Blackspot Pigfish in the wild is more common for experienced divers, as they primarily inhabit deeper waters.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Bodianus

Species: Bodianus Vulpinus

Conservation Status

The Blackspot Pigfish is not considered a threatened species in Australia. It is classified as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fish Taste Quality

Blackspot Pigfish are considered to be good to eat. It has firm, white flesh with a mild and sweet flavour. It is often described as being similar to other reef fish species.

Taste Rating: 3/5

How to catch
Blackspot Pigfish

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Targeted

Blackspot Pigfish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Outer Reef, Caves

Danger: None

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