CRITTER: Meet ‘o’ili the Barred Filefish

  • Terry Lilley / special to the garden island

    The Barred Filefish have a dorsal spine that becomes erect when they are threatened. Their Hawaiian name ‘o’ili means “to sprout.”

This gold, 14-inch-long fish is one critter you do not want to mess with! It has fused, very-sharp teeth, and can bite off an entire chunk of the reef or live coral for food. They are called file-fish because their skin and tiny, rough scales are like sandpaper. Even sharks and moray eels have a hard time biting into them.