Animal Health Update: Batfish

Published July 30, 2014

by Leigh Clayton, Director of Animal Health

As the first anniversary of Blacktip Reef quickly approaches, I wanted to give you an update on one of the fish we highlighted when the exhibit opened – an orbicular batfish that had surgery during quarantine!


In January of 2013, the batfish was in quarantine at our off-site Animal Care Center, where staff noted a mass in the body cavity. The fish was sedated, and using ultrasound guidance a needle was inserted into the lump and an aspirate (drawn fluid) was obtained. Based on this sample, it looked like a sterile abscess or cyst and not a cancerous process or active infection.

A month later, the fish was anesthetized again for an exploratory surgery. The mass was attached to the swim bladder, and we were able to remove most of it. The fish recovered very well and the sutures were taken out two weeks after the procedure.

All fourteen of our batfish were introduced into the Blacktip Reef in July of 2013, and we’re happy to report that they are all thriving. The surgery site healed so well there isn’t even a scar. We can no longer be sure which fish even had surgery! We love success stories like this.

Stay tuned for more updates on how Blacktip Reef is doing a year later!

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Leigh Clayton

Director of Animal Health

Leigh Clayton

About Leigh Clayton

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