The trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus, has an elongated body and snout with an upturned predatory mouth.
These fish can grow to about three feet in length and can be found in a large area – from Bermuda to Brazil – with juveniles living in oceanic midwaters and adults associated with reefs.
They can alter their colours, but are usually olive-to-reddish with many black spots and white lines.
These solitary predators are a treat to watch, as they look for an advantage over prey fish and crustaceans by hanging upside-down among the branches of soft corals or even swimming in alignment with other large fish, suddenly darting out at breakneck speed to slurp up an unsuspecting meal.
Tom Byrnes is the owner/operator of Cayman Marine Lab. He acquired his Coast Guard Captain’s Licence when he was a teenager and worked as a commercial fisherman in his youth. He got his first diving certificate in 1974 with the YMCA. He has worked in the local dive industry for more than 35 years and has a PhD in marine biology.