Amazon Leaf Fish
Amazon Leaf Fish
Name: Monocirrhus polyacanthus
= many acanth = spine
Amazon and Rio Negro Basins
Slow-moving, muddy water
in the Wild: small fishes
in the zoo: small fishes
in the zoo: James R.
3 '' inches
its color mimics
the color of the leaf
ranges from greenish-yellow
to dark brown color
fins are transparent
its flattened body
is in a leaf pattern
males have larger
fins than females
live in a muddy, slow-moving water surrounded by leaves because their resemblance
to a leaf enable them to hide themselves from predators. Their predators,
as well as their prey, do not know they are there unless the predators
touch them. Leaf fishes rarely move, and they are usually found near the
Leaf Fish swims near a plant
have very large appetites. They eat in order for their body to maintain
a normal shape. When they eat, the fishes eat very fast and widen their
eyes. The leaf fishes eat anything that their mouth size allows, even each
other. They eat large amounts of food in a day. Their anatomy resembles
the sunfish. The fishes hardly move, and they usually keep their heads
the female and the male leaf fishes mate, they glide past each
other on the surface and stay in that position for thirty minutes.Then,the
male goes away so the female can lay her egg. The female lays
her eggs either on or under the leaf's surface. Sometimes, she
can produce eggs while lying upside down. Then, the male comes
in to take care of the fry (baby leaf fishes) by surrounding
them with bubbles. Three days later, the male digs a hole under
the leaf in the 80 degrees Celcius temperature. On the fourth
day, the fry begin to hatch. Two days later, the male teaches
the fry to go hunt for food. The fry are fed on brine shrimp.
Finally, when the fry mature, they do not recognize one another.
The leaf fishes live in acidic water and are potential breeders.
If you want to keep the leaf fish as a "pet," then you have
to change the water continuously once a week.
about the Amazon Leaf Fish of the Fort Worth Zoo:
The Amazon Leaf
Fishes found at the zoo were from a wild catch. They were very confident
with their camouflage, so people could catch them very easily. They do
not move. The fishes were found in muddy water in the Amazon River.When
I visited, the aquarium biologist, Devin, told me he had just fed them
with lots of fish food.
When I went
to the zoo to view the leaf fishes, I did not see any fish at first. I
had to look very hard to find one. I thought the leaf fishes were pretty
boring since they did not move at all and just stayed close to the leaves
for a long time. When I went away to look at other fishes and returned,
I found them at the same position, still swimming closely to the leaves.
I also caught one leaf fish opening its mouth. Its mouth was very wide
and resembled a balloon being filled with gas. The most interesting characteristic
about the leaf fish is its camouflage. It is very good in hiding itself
in leaves. I did not know there were about five leaf fishes hiding themselves
among the leaves until the aquarium biologist pointed them out to me.
of Materials and Links:
Brewing Aquarium Fishes.
Book I. Neptune City, NJ: TFH, 1967.
of Tropical Fishes. Neptune City, NF: TFH, 1986.
h.c. Grzimek's Animal Life.New
York: Van Nostrand Beinhold Company, 1974.
M., Forth Worth Zoo, Aquarium Biologist.
" Leaf Fish."
Britannica. online. 11 Nov.2000.
" The Leaf Fish, Little Predators of the
Amazon," Tropical FIsh Hobbyist (1992):163-165.
is from Julianne's Background Textures at
at the Fort Worth Zoo