Batfish/Spadefish Platax spp.

Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
There are various different genera of fish called Batfish, - marine, brakish and freshwater species. Those on this page are also known as Spadefish (both names relate to their shape, the former to the juveniles and the latter to the adults). Marine fish native to reefs of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, the Platax genus of 5 species differ from other Spadefish in that their juveniles look totally different from the adults.
Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
Whereas the adult Longfin, Orbicular and Pinnate/Dusky look very similar and, to make ID worse, they are variable and can change the intensity of their light and dark patterns in seconds, the vulnerable juveniles have very long fins and each species looks very different: orange like leaves, dark with neon edges like toxic flatworms or flailing black and white like toxic devilfish.
Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
Longfin Batfish
Most of those shown on this page are the Longfin Batfish (P. tiera) which, as an adult, loses its long fins and rounds out like the other species. The Longfin has a dark spot below the pectoral fins but it is not always visible when the dark bands are black. It also has a long, black bar on the edge of the anal fin - but some Orbicular also seem to have this. The largest, it grows to 60cm long (cf. 50cm for the Orbicular and 45cm for the Pinnate/Dusky - which isn't always dusky).
Longfin Batfish subadult
Longfin Batfish subadult
Longfin Batfish subadult
Above are not the very different juvenile batfishes but subadults/immatures beginning to lose their long fins and round out their bodies.
Longfin Batfish subadult Subadult.
Orbicular Batfish? This may be an Orbicular Batfish (P. orbicularis)?
Orbicular Batfish? They are all shoaling fish and all variable.