Dalagang Bukid Fish: Your Guide to Yellowtail Fusilier

Dalagang Bukid Fish (Yellow Tail Fusilier)

The Dalagang Bukid Fish, also known as the Yellow Tail Fusilier or Caesio cuning, is known for its bright look and is often used in Filipino food.

Its name means “Mountain Maiden” in English. This comes from the fish’s red underside, which looks like the traditional dress of Filipino women in the mountains or rice fields.

The Dalagang Bukid Fish is important in the Philippines, both as food and as a part of the culture.

Dalagang Bukid Fish Summary Card

Tagalog Name: Dalagang Bukid
English Name: Yellowtail Fusilier
Scientific Name: Caesio cuning
Max Size: 60 cm
Physical Characteristics: Greyish-blue body, yellow dorsal fin, pink-reddish underside
Habitat: Coastal waters, above rocky and coral reefs
Depth Range: 1 to 60 meters
Diet: Zooplankton
Reproduction: Oviparous, pelagic eggs
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Fishing Practices: Drive-in nets, gill nets, traps, trawls, handlines
Culinary Uses: Grilled, baked, pan-fried, soups, stews, dried, fermented
Economic Importance: Staple in diet, common in markets
Local Retail Price: Php 375 per kilo for regular size, Php 500 per kilo for larger sizes

Physical Description

This fish has a grey-blue body and a clear yellow fin on its back. The bottom part of its body usually looks white with a bit of pink-red color. Grown-up fish can be as long as 60 cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Yellow Tail Fusilier lives in the Indo-West Pacific region. It can be found from Sri Lanka and southern India to Fiji, and from southern Japan to northern Australia.

It lives in coastal waters, especially above rocky and coral reefs. It’s often found in silty areas where it’s hard to see.

In the Philippines, you can often see it in local wet markets. It’s found all over the coastal areas of the Philippines.

Behavior and Ecology

Diet and Feeding Habits

The Yellow Tail Fusilier mainly eats zooplankton. This includes a range of tiny creatures like salps, doliolids, pteropods, heteropods, and chaetognaths.

They usually feed in the middle of the water, forming groups that actively search for these tiny planktonic animals.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

These fish lay eggs, producing many small, free-floating eggs that spread out in the water.

Their egg-laying behavior is often influenced by the moon’s phases, with adult fish moving to specific parts of the reef to lay their eggs.

Schooling Behavior and Social Structure

Known for being active during the day, this fish lives in groups and often forms schools with other types of fusiliers.

These group behaviors help with feeding and are also important for their way of reproducing.

The schools are usually active during the day and play a key role in the reef’s ecosystem.

Fisheries and Economic Importance

Fishing Methods and Practices in the Philippines

In the Philippines, this fish is often caught using different methods like drive-in nets, gill nets, traps, trawls, and handlines.

The fishing methods used can change based on the area and the resources the fishermen have.

Economic Role in the Filipino Market

The Dalagang Bukid Fish is a common item in Filipino markets, showing its importance in the local diet. It’s usually sold fresh, but some of it is also made into salted fish.

Young fish are sometimes caught to be used as bait in tuna fishing.

Sustainability and Conservation Status

There have been worries about the number of these fish going down in some areas because of overfishing. However, in other areas, the number of Dalagang Bukid Fish is still steady.

Dalagang Bukid Fish Culinary Uses

Traditional Filipino Recipes

This fish can be cooked in many ways, like grilling, baking, pan-frying, or even using it in soups and stews.

Popular Filipino dishes with this fish include grilled fish with lemon and herbs, fish curries, and fish soups. The unique taste of the fish is an important part of these dishes.

Different Forms of Preparation

Besides fresh preparations, this fish can also be eaten in dried and fermented forms.

These forms are common in Southeast Asian cuisines, where they’re used to make fish sauces or pastes, giving a special umami taste to various dishes.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

This fish is loved not just for its taste but also for its nutritional value. It’s a great source of high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

These nutrients are important for keeping the heart and brain healthy. Eating this fish regularly can provide important nutrients like vitamin D and vitamin B12, supporting overall health and well-being.

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