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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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tilefish Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps, a deep-water fish of the NE Atlantic, which is one of the most brilliantly coloured species known outside the tropics. It may be over a metre long and weigh up to 15 kg (33.75 lb), but the usual adult length is 80 cm (32").

The specific name chamaeleonticeps is not quite appropriate. A chameleon can change its coloration at will, whereas a tilefish cannot; it merely exhibits a remarkable range of colours. Leim and Scott (1966) have described it as:

bluish to olive-green on back and upper part of sides, changing to yellow and rose on lower sides and belly, latter with white midline. Head reddish on sides, white below. Back and sides above lateral line thickly dotted with irregular yellow spots. Dorsal fin dusky with larger yellowish spots … anal fin pinkish with purple to blue iridescence; pectoral pale sooty-brown with purplish reflections.