Fun Facts About Squirrel Fish In The Florida Keys

The squirrelfish can be found at depths to 590 feet but more typically found within 100 feet. They are nocturnal. At night, they swim over sandy bottoms and sea grass beds at night searching for prey. During the daylight hours, they hide in crevices and under ledges within coral reefs to avoid predators. Juveniles form schools while adults are more isolated within their territories.

The squirrelfish is found in the South western Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It also lives throughout the West Indies and Caribbean. In the eastern Atlantic, this species resides in the islands and tropical and subtropical waters.

school of squirrel fish in a tropical coral reef school of squirrel fish in a tropical coral reef mobile

Distinctive Features

  • Reddish with a golden sheen on top and side, with
  • White belly
  • Large, dark eyes
  • Upper jaw extends posterior
  • Rear of the dorsal fin & upper lobe of the caudal fin are elongated
  • Juveniles are thin and silvery

Size, Age, and Growth:

  • Max length: 24.0 inches
  • Most common length: 9.8 inches
  • Sexual maturity: 5.7 inches

Food Habits:

  • Meroplankton (crab larvae, shrimp larvae and other small crustaceans)


  • Year round in the warmer regions
  • Warmer summer months in the cooler waters


  • Dolphinfish
  • Mutton snapper
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Longlure frogfish

Fun Fact:

This species is capable of producing sounds with its swimbladder for intra-specific communication.

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