Aulostomus strigosus

Common Name

Atlantic Trumpetfish

Year Described

Wheeler, 1955


Dorsal Fin: XIII-XIII, 20-25
Anal Fin: 26
Pelvic Fin: 6
Vertebrae 59-61
Scales: 247-262 longitudinal series

Body extremely elongated and laterally compressed (especially rearward). Snout extremely long and tubular with a small mouth. Teeth in lower jaw but not upper. Nostrils near eye. Chin with a short barbel. Dorsal fin with spines separated into separate finlets. Second dorsal and anal fins equal in size and placed far rearward on body. Pelvic fin small and inserted closer to anal fin than pectoral fin. Pectoral fin small and rounded. Caudal fin small and rounded without a filament. Lateral line present. Rough scales cover most of body but head and upper trunk.


Most commonly reddish-brown to pale gray, but often pale orange to yellow. Sometimes has numerous horizontal white lines and bars on the head and body and black spots on the dorsum. Caudal peduncle noticeably dark with three bright white spots. Tail with a paired black spot. Dorsal and anal fin with 1-2 black stripes. Fish can darken and lighten pattern to display vertical white bars or darken to almost unicolorous black or yellow.


Maximum size to 75cm TL.


Found in a diverse range of shallow water coral and rocky reefs. Known to cooperatively hunt with other reef fishes in addition to motionless ambush techniques.


In the western Atlantic found only off coastal Brazil and oceanic islands. Also found in the eastern and central Atlantic.


Bowen, B.W., Bass, A.L., Rocha, L.A., Grant, W.S., & Robertson, D.R. 2001. Phylogeography of the trumpetfishes (Aulostomus): ring species complex on a global scale. Evolution, 55(5), 1029-1039.

Other Notes

Very close to Aulostomus maculatus but differs in anal fin ray count and longitudinal scale counts, as well as molecular data. Appears to be largely allopatric with Aulostomus maculatus, which occurs in the eastern Atlantic and off Brazil. The three species of Aulostomus appear to be part of a global ring species complex with A. strigosus being more closely related to Pacific A. chinensis than it is to A. maculatus. The two Atlantic species appear to have reconnected geographically in Brazil through dispersal of the ancestor of A. strigosus from the Indian Ocean into the eastern Atlantic and SW Atlantic islands (Bowen et al., 2001), with these populations interbreeding with A. maculatus that was already present in the region.