By: Judy Mann
Today we introduce you to the Scotsman….a proud fish, living up to its namesake. This endemic reef fish has a distinct angular forehead.
They feed primarily on other small reef fishes and scientists believe that Scotsman are protogynous hermaphrodites (born female and later change sex to male). Tagging research undertaken in the Pondoland Marine Protected Area has shown that juveniles of this species are very resident, occupying relatively small home ranges of about 750 m in length.
When females reach maturity at 40-50 cm total length, many individuals appear to leave their homes and head north travelling distances of up to 1000 km to reefs in northern KZN and southern Mozambique. Very few reproductively active Scotsman have sampled in southern KZN waters. This means that to spawn the adults need to move up to the northern parts of their distribution range. After spawning their eggs and larvae drift southwards inshore of the Agulhas Current eventually settling onto reefs in southern KZN and Transkei.
Protection of adult Scotsman in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and juvenile Scotsman in the Pondoland MPA bode well for the future sustainable use of this impressive sparid reef fish. Read our Scotsman Fact Sheet.