Rabbitfish / Spinefoot Family
California Sardines [Samaral (Philippine); family Siganidae]

Rabbitfish are tropical reef dwelling fish that, unlike most fish, are vegetarian, living on seaweeds (algae). Incidental to their diet they eat bacteria and other organisms adhering to the seaweed, and some of these contain ciguatera toxins. Predatory fish that eat Rabbitfish can concentrate these toxins to a dangerous degree, but Rabbitfish themselves contain only low, non-dangerous levels.

More on Varieties of Fish (very large page).


Java Rabbitfish - [Streaked Spinefoot (Fishbase / FDA), Java Rabbitfish, Bluespotted spinefoot; Samaral (Philippine); Siganus javus]
Fresh Fish

Found in tropic seas from the east coast of Africa to the South Pacific islands, the Java Rabbitfish is a vegetarian living on algae. It can grow to 20 inches but the photo specimen was 14 inches and 1.9 pounds, near the high end for market fish. Rabbitfish reproduces quickly and is not listed as endangered (IUCN NE (Not Evaluated)). They have no conventional scales so are not kosher.   Details and Cooking.

Virgate Rabbitfish / Barred Spinefoot - [Barhead Spinefoot (Fishbase), Virgate Rabbitfish; Siganus virgatus | similar Barred Spinefoot (Fishbase), Pencil-streaked Rabbitfish / Spinefoot: Siganus doliatus]
Fresh Fish

These two Rabbitfish are very closely related and can interbreed. They also vary tremendously in coloration so are hard to tell apart. The Virgate ranges from the east coast of Africa to the South Pacific islands while the Barred ranges from southern India across the Pacific to the coast of Central America and northern South America. They both go as far south as the northern coast of Australia and as far north as the northern tip of the Philippines. Both are vegetarian, living on seaweed (algae). The Virgate can grow to nearly 12 inches and the Barred to almost 10 inches. Rabbitfish reproduce quickly and are not listed as endangered (IUCN NE (Not Evaluated)). They have no conventional scales so are not kosher.   Details and Cooking.

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