© Jean Tresfon


Batfish (Ephippidae)




Batfish can measure up to 50 cm in length.

Batfish Identification

The body of the batfish is about as long as it is deep, and compressed laterally. Their dorsal fins and anal fins are triangular and symmetric. They are generally silver in colour with wide black or brown vertical stripes interspersed with yellow. In order to camouflage, their eyes are often located in one of the vertical coloured bands running down their bodies. Other genera in the batfish family are characterised by their long, pointy anal and dorsal fins that trail behind them.

Batfish General Info

The batfish belongs to the Ephippidae family which comprises of seven genera and 20 species, including spadefish. They can normally be found in groups over reefs or close to wrecks in midwater. These are very curious fish who will approach divers. They are sometimes confused for angelfish and are pelagic spawners.

Batfish Feeding

Batfish are herbivorous. Most species feed predominantly on algae, small invertebrates, sponges, seaweed, worms, zoanthids and gorgonians.


They can be found in all temperate and tropical oceans across the world.

Common Species

Longfin batfish - Platax teira
Spadefish - Tripterodon orbis
Shaded batfish - Platax pinnatus

© Johan Boshoff