6 photos - 3 species


There are eleven genera and almost 45 species.

They are characterised by the dorsal fin, which begins directly above the eyes.

The gill cover usually has two spines.

They are usually found on the bottom

where they allow their flattened body to be rocked back

and forth by the waves, so they resemble a leaf and are well camouflaged.

Depending on the species, they grow to a length of 4 to 80 cm.


Ablabys macracanthus

Spiny waspfish or Spiny leaf-fish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 1 - 80 m

This species has a white spot above the pectoral fin.

There are different colour variations, the face is sometimes contrasting.

Rocks sideways, imitating dead leaves.

They can be found on sandy and muddy coastal slopes, even in deep water.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Photo 3 Astrid: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Ablabys taenianotus

Cockatoo waspfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 1 - 80 m

Lives in sheltered bays on sand or coral gravel bottoms. 

Sometimes also between seagrass stalks.

Photo 1 Astrid: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Ablabys binotatus


Maximum length: 6 cm

Depth: 1 - 25 m

Optimal camouflage.

It imitates seaweed or kelp.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi