Tilefishes, also known as blanquillo, are mostly small perciform marine fish comprising the family Malacanthidae. They are usually found in sandy areas, especially near coral reefs.
Commercial fisheries exist for the largest species, making them important food fish, although the American Food and Drug Administration warns pregnant or breastfeeding women against eating them or shark, swordfish, or king mackerel due to mercury contamination. The smaller, exceptionally colorful species of tilefish are enjoyed in the aquarium.
Due to their low fecundities, commercially important species are threatened by overfishing via long-line and bottom trawling methods.
Generally shallow-water fish, tilefish are usually found at depths of 50–200 metres in both temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.. All species seek shelter in self-made burrows, caves at the bases of reefs or piles of rock, often in canyons or at the edges of steep slopes. Either gravelly or sandy substrate may be preferred, depending on the species.
Most species are strictly marine; an exception is found in the blue blanquillo (Malacanthus latovittatus) which is known to enter the brackish waters of Papua New Guinea's Goldie River.
Tilefish feed primarily on small benthic invertebrates, especially crustaceans such as crab and shrimp. Mollusks, worms, sea urchins and small fish are also taken.