Threadfin Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys aprinus) by Paul Sutten
Hawkfish share many morphological features with the scorpionfish of the family Scorpaenidae.
Thanks to their large, skinless pectoral fins, hawkfish are able to perch upon fire corals without incurring harm. Actually hydrozoans rather than true corals, fire corals possess stinging cells called nematocysts which would normally prevent close contact.
Afforded some degree of protection by their living perches, hawkfish seek the high ground of the reef where they warily survey their surroundings; redolent of a hawk’s behaviour, this habit inspired their common name.