Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus) are bony fish in the family Aulostomidae, found from the Caribbean Sea to as far north as Bermuda. They are named for the trumpet-like shape they exhibit when their mouths are open. Trumpetfish measure up to 2 ft (0.6 m) in length, and have dorsal spines which support separate fins or finlets. They are brownish in color with widespread streaks and spots.
Trumpetfish are poor swimmers, but are well camouflaged, which provides protection from predators and affords a means of obtaining food. They lie motionless, practically unseen, aligned with gorgonian corals (whip corals). They appear to drift about in the water, since they make no visible effort to swim and the rapid movement of their fins cannot be readily detected.
The American trumpetfish has close relatives in the Pacific—A. valentini in the Indo-Pacific region and A. chinesis along the Asian coast.
Whiteman, Kate. World Encyclopedia of Fish & Shellfish. New York: Lorenz Books, 2000.