Hogfish, Lachnolaimus maximus: The Hogfish is a rather easy species to identify due to its unique laterally compressed, high, round body shape, and three elongated, thick dorsal spines.
The overall coloration is red with yellow pectoral fins. There are dark bars present on the outer margins of the anal, caudal and soft dorsal fins and there is a dark spot at the rear base of the soft dorsal fin.
The iris of the pupil is bright red. Males (as pictured below) have a wide black stripe that runs from the enormous pig-like snout through the forehead to the first dorsal spine. The anal and dorsal fins are pointed, and the caudal fin is lunate.
The Hogfish is found in the tropical Western Atlantic inshore waters over hard sand and rocky bottoms near ledges, reefs and wrecks between 10 and 100 feet deep in the water column. It consumes small fish, shellfish, and sea urchins.
This fish species reaches a length of about 36 inches and weights up to 22 pounds.
In Mexican fishing waters , the Hogfish is found in all waters of the Gulf of Mexico that are east of the Yucatan. It is viewed by locals as good table fare but known to contain ciguatera toxin. The Hogfish is preyed upon by sharks and spear fishermen. Note: this species is currently on the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Mexican Hogfish is one of the largest members of the Labridae or Wrasse family known for their brilliant colors.