Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Online Information System
Updated: 06/12/2008  

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Species Information          
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Ophidiiformes  -  Carapidae  -  Carapus  -  Carapus mourlani

Carapus mourlani

All Families(148) All Genera(504) All Species(1287)
silvery + many dark spots
  in sea hares, sea cucumbers

maxilla not bound to head by skin

with gill rakers

gill opening wide
+ pectorals


Carapus mourlani (Petit, 1934)

Star pearl fish

Elongate, short, compressed body, long slender tail; upper jaw not bound to side of head by skin, extends well past eye; no small fleshy flaps on tip of snout; top jaw with a pair of large conical teeth at front, followed by 2-3 rows of very small sharp teeth; lower jaw with a band of teeth, outer row with 7-8 enlarged teeth at front;  roof of mouth with 2-3 large canines at front, and a band of short, conical teeth on each side;  gill opening extends above mid-side, gill membranes not united below; well developed gill rakers; well developed pectoral fin (2-3x length of head), 17-21 rays;  anus and origin of anal fin before base of pectoral fin; dorsal and anal fins confluent with tail fin; dorsal origin well behind origin of anal; anal fin rays longer than dorsal fin rays, 18-25 rays. 

Translucent; silvery to coppery on cheek and abdomen; with many star-shaped dark blotches on head and body.

Reaches 17 cm.

Lives in the body cavities of starfishes and holothurians; in the TEP lives inside the sea cucumber Isostichopus fuscus, and in the gill chamber of the Blunt-end Seahare, Dolabella auricularia

Depth range 3-116 m.

Indo-Pacific; E Africa to the Central and E Pacific; in the TEP is known from Ecuador to northern Costa Rica.

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