Tilefish are also known by the name blanquillo. They are generally small perciform marine fish, which belongs to the family of Malacanthidae. They are frequently found in sandy areas, particularly near coral reefs.
This is a beautiful fish, with bluish or olive-green color on the back. On the upper part of the sides, it is yellow. Its belly is tint with white midline. Tilefish head is tinged reddish on the sides with pure white below. The back and sides above the pectorals are thickly dotted with irregular yellow spots. The dorsal fin is quiet dusky, marked with larger yellow spots, the adipose flap is greenish-yellow.
Tilefish are of 50 pounds in weight, but this is unusual. The largest female fish weighed 35 pounds and was about 43 inches long.
A variety of bottom-dwelling invertebrates have been taken out from tilefish stomachs. Crabs are the most important article of diet. It also includes squid, shrimp, annelid worms, sea urchins and sea anemones. Occasionally they catch other fish; two spiny dogfish.
The blueline tilefish is a dull olive-gray in color overall and white below. The lack of fleshy protuberance behind the head distinguishes it from the commercially tilefish.
The blueline tilefish is a bottom dweller fish found in water ranging from 250-790 feet deep, from Virginia to Campeche Banks of Mexico. It is usually found in bottom water temperatures between 60° to 74° F. It may grow up to 32 inches and live till 15 years.
Spawning of eggs occurs from May to November, and female blueline titlefish may lay more than 5 million free-floating eggs.
The golden tilefish can easily be recognized from other members of their family Malacanthidae by their large adipose flap on the head. The species are blue and green with iridescent on the back and lot of spots of bright yellow and gold. The belly is white and the head is rosy and blue under the eyes. Pectoral fins are sepia-colored, and the anal fin is purplish-blue.
Sexual development is reached when fish are about 28 inches long and weight about 10 pounds. Laying of eggs occurs from March to October, and females lay about 2-9 million pelagic eggs.
Golden tilefish feed during the day on the bottom of the sea surface on crustaceans, clams, snails, worms, and sea cucumbers. They can reach to the length of 39 inches, although growth is slow.
Almost all fish contain trace amount of methyl mercury, while some contain more than others do. In places where there is industrial mercury pollution, mercury levels in the fish can be quite high. In general, methyl mercury levels for most fish are low. Certain tilefish may contain methyl mercury levels in excess level. The FDA has advised pregnant women, to avoid fish that contain high amounts of methyl mercury, specially shark, swordfish, and tilefish. On regular consumption of methyl mercury contained fish can harm the child's developing nervous system and may risk to the mothers as well.