Animals that have huge foreheads are always amusing to see. They look funny and somehow remind us of our weird-looking uncle Stanley (thank god we didn’t inherit our foreheads from him).
Land animals with huge brows are common to find, but did you know that there are even more fish with big foreheads?
These include many species of cichlids like the Midas cichlid and the kamfa, many species of dolphinfish, napoleon fish, humphead parrotfish, oranda, humphead glassfish, unicornfish, and others.
Let’s explore all of these animals and show you what they look like.
Table of Contents
Fish With Big Foreheads
Scientific Name: Coryphaena hippurus
Size: 2.8-4.6 ft
Weight: 49 lb
Dolphinfish, also known as mahi-mahi, is an ocean fish with a big forehead. It is colorful, with a large body, blunt face, forked tail fin, and a distinctive shape of its forehead. The name mahi-mahi means “strong strong” in Polynesian.
They are very fast swimmers that can reach speeds of up to 60 mph. Larger dolphinfish males have high, vertical foreheads, while females have rounded ones.
The best time to target mahi-mahi in Florida is from April through June.
Scientific Name: /
Size: 4.5-5 in
Weight: 1 lb
Kamfa is a freshwater fish with a big forehead.
It is a flowerhorn fish, a freshwater hybrid that was produced by crossing several different types of fish. Because it was artificially bred by humans, it does not have a scientific name and is not recognized as distinct species.
Kamfa is characterized by a body shape that is square, white, or yellow eyes, and a huge bump on its head that looks like a forehead.
Kamfas are omnivores and feed on shrimp, worms, insects, and plant matter. They are often mistaken for another type of flowerhorn fish, the Zhen Zhu.
Flowerhorn cichlids, the group kamfas belong to, can be pink, orange, red, gold, grey, black, and have silver spots on their bodies. The hump on their foreheads is called a KOK and consists of fatty tissue and water.
Scientific Name: Macropinna microstoma
Size: 6 in
Weight: 2-5 oz
The barreleye fish is a small deep-sea fish with a dome-shaped transparent forehead that contains glowing green eyes.
It has a tiny mouth and most of the body is covered with large scales. The fish will usually stay motionless in water at depths of 2,000-2,600 feet, stabilizing itself with its large fins.
Barreleye fish were named after their unusual eyes pointed at a 90-degree angle. The eyes are pointed upwards to capture as much light as possible, but when searching for food, barreleyes can rotate them forward.
Not much is known about the species’ diet, but scientists think that they most likely feed on zooplankton. They can be found mostly off California’s coast and the North Pacific ocean.
Scientific Name: Amphilophus citrinellus
Size: 14 in
Weight: 2.5 lb
Midas cichlid is an orange fish with a big forehead. It is a large cichlid fish that lives in the San Juan River and Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It was first discovered in Florida in 1980.
Midas cichlid has an oval body, is very aggressive, and is easy to recognize by the golden color and lump on its head which is known as a ‘nuchal hump’. Only males have it.
Midas cichlids are omnivorous and mostly feed on small fish, snails, insect larvae, and worms.
Scientific Name: Cheilinus undulatus
Size: 6 ft
Weight: 420 lb
Napoleonfish, also known as humphead wrasse, is a blue-green fish with a big forehead. It is a huge species of wrasse that can be found in the Indo-Pacific region.
Napoleon fish got their name from the distinctive hump on their forehead, which resembles the hat of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. As they get older, their foreheads will grow.
Napoleonfish are carnivores that feed on shellfish, other fish, sea stars, sea urchins, and crabs. They are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Green Humphead Parrotfish
Scientific Name: Bolbometopon muricatum
Size: 4.9 ft
Weight: 165 lb
The greenhumphead parrotfish is another gray and green ocean fish with a huge forehead. It is the largest species of parrotfish that can grow up to 4.9 ft and 165 pounds.
They are omnivores that feed on benthic algae and live corals – adult humphead parrotfish may hit corals with its head to get food. Greenhumpheads can be found in the coral reefs of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans.
All parrotfish share got their family name because of their unique mouths that look like a beak.
Scientific Name: Carassius auratus auratus
Size: 8-12 in
Oranda is a breed of goldfish that has a characteristical bubble-like “hood” on the head that looks like a big forehead. It has a tall tail fin, it is one of the friendliest species of fish, and an omnivore.
Oranda can live up to 15 years. One variation of oranda, the red-cap oranda, has a silver body color and a red head growth on the forehead that looks like a raspberry.
Another member of orandas, the black goldfish, is a characteristically black fish with a big forehead.
Scientific Name: Cyphotilapia frontosa
Size: 1.1 ft
Weight: 2 lb
This east African species of fish are endemic to Lake Tanganyika. Front cichlid, also known as Frontosa Cichlid and Frontosa, got the name “frontosa” as a reference to its relatively large forehead that is full of fat deposits.
They are easy to recognize by their body markings – five to seven black vertical bars over a white or blue body and head and trailing fins with a distinct blue hue.
It lives in groups at depths of 35 to 170 feet and more, dwelling among the rocks, and feeding on fish, snails, and mussels.
Scientific Name: Steatocranus casuarius
Size: 3.9 in
Lionhead cichlids are known as African blockheads, buffaloheads, and humphead cichlids, lionheads, or lumpheads.
These fish with gigantic foreheads are native to Pool Malebo and the Congo River and they use caves for spawning.
They are recognizable by elongated and stout bodies, oversized heads, and nuchal humps that grow with age in males.
Asian Sheepshead Wrasse
Scientific Name: Semicossyphus reticulatus
Size: 39 in
Weight: 32 lb
Asian sheepshead wrasses are one of the largest wrasse species with massive foreheads.
These fish native to the rocky reefs in the western Pacific Ocean can reach 39 inches in length and weigh up to 32 pounds!
Also known as Kobudai in Japan, they are a hermaphroditic species with both male and female organs to change sex easily. Despite their terrifying looks, Asian sheepshead wrasses are rather friendly creatures – one Japanese diver has been friends with one fish called Yoriko for over 30 years.
Their large humpheads with distinctive chins and lower jaws give them a rather unique appearance.
Scientific Name: Parambassis pulcinella
Size: 3.9 in
Humphead Glassfish, also known as the humphead perchlet, is a silver freshwater fish with a prominent forehead.
It is a territorial species of Asiatic glassfish that live in large clear-water rivers, especially near waterfalls and large rapids in Myanmar and Thailand.
This unusual fish has a large hump on its head and a semi-transparent body. Males have a much larger bump on the head compared to females.
Humphead glassfish is a carnivore that feeds on small fish, shrimps, and aquatic insect larvae.
Scientific Name: Blenniella gibbifrons
Size: 4.7 in
Hump-headed blenny is also known as bullethead rockskipper or picture rockskipper. It lives in coral reefs in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
They have prominent foreheads and prefer water from 1.6 to 4.9 ft deep with algal turf and sand at the bottom.
Read More: Animals that closely resemble groundhogs
12 species of fish that have a big forehead.
These funny-looking creatures all have different characteristics, but one similarity: the huge bump on their heads.
We hope that next time you go diving you will know which one is which, in case you encounter any.
Fish with big forehead:
- Midas Cichlid
- Green humphead parrotfish
- Humphead glassfish
- Hump-headed blenny
- Lionhead Cichlid
- Humphead Glassfish
- Barreleye Fish
- Asian Sheepshead Wrasse
Kamfa – Inkpassion, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons (edited)
Green Humphead Parrotfish – Muñoz RC, Zgliczynski BJ, Laughlin JL, Teer BZ, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons (edited)
Midas Cichlid – George Chernilevsky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons (edited)
Humphead glassfish – Puchatech K., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons (edited)