Hawkfishes (Cirrhitidae) Overview
Hawkfishes can usually be seen waiting motionless on an outcrop or coral head waiting for prey. As soon as a smaller fish or crustacean is seen, they strike quickly. They live in groups of usually one male and one or more females.
Most species are able to change sex, males being sex-reversed females. If the male in a group dies, the dominant female of the group changes sex and takes on its new role as male group leader.
There are six species of hawkfishes in Hawaii. Their Hawaiian name is piliko'a, meaning “coral clinging.”