Moonyfish : Classification, morphology, feeding, breeding

Moony fish (Monodactylus argenteus)

Scientific classification

Kingdom                   Animalia

Phylum                    Chordata

Class                    Actinopterygii

Order                     Perciformes

Family                  Monodactylidae

Genus                  Monodactylus

Species                 M. argenteus


Monodactylus: Greek, monos = one + Greek, daktylos = finger. These are also known as moonyfishes or fingerfishes. It is the least concern by the IUCN.


At maturity, their length is 13 cm. The maximum length reaches up to 27 cm. And common length in most fishes is 12 cm. Total dorsal spines: 7 – 8, Total dorsal soft rays are 27 to 31. The Colour of an adult is bright silver which ranges from yellow and dusky dorsal fin tip. A more colorful pattern is shown by small juveniles.


The species of monodactylus argenteus freshwater river, brackish and marine water. It is found in estuaries and embankments in Australia near piers.


These fishes feed on detritus and plankton. They also eat shrimps, small fish, and vegetable matter in large quantities. They are commonly seen in the school of fishes except juveniles either live solitary or are found in small groups.


Monodactylus argenteus hatch in the ocean. The difference between breeding and sexes is not known. Monodactylus argenteus is bred successfully in bondage. There has been seen casual spawning activity which has not been seen again.[1]ORI Fish Fact Sheet – Cape Moony copy ([2]Comparative study of trophic transfer of the essential metals Co and Zn in two tropical fish: a radiotracer approach ([3]Monodactylus argenteus – Wikipedia

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Khalid Mukhtar (Ph.D.)
University of Sargodha, Sargodha

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