Klipfish (Black devil)

Bovichthus diacanthus

Klipfish are only found in Tristan and nowhere else in the world!

Klipfish (c) Sue Scott
Klipfish (c) Sue Scott

Although Klipfish is commonly found in rock pools very little information is known about them. They live in the remote habitat of the oceanic islands of Tristan da Cunha, and are most commonly seen around Gough. Juveniles are found in rock pools while adults are in depths of up to 20m moving to deeper waters during spawning season. The larvae stay in the water column changing their body colour to silver and creating schools of post-larvae fishes. These schools are often targeted by snoek fish, who feed on juvenile Klipfish. When juveniles reach 5-6cm long they settle in shallow waters and tide pools.

Klipfish have two interesting adaptations to these remote habitats. First they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and salinities, from winter sea temperature of 10 OC to summer waters in tide pools of 27OC. Meanwhile to avoid predators they can change their body colouration to match their habitat and camouflage.

IUCN/ Conservation Status — Not evaluated

Length —  Up to 25cm

Life span — Females 5 years & males 4 years

Reproduction — Spawning season July - March

Sightings around Tristan islands – commonly seen in rock pools

Marine life on Tristan

The waters surrounding the Tristan islands are home to a diverse range of fish and invertebrates, including the commercially valuable crayfish.