Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Notarius rugispinis, Softhead Sea Catfish

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bone behind head shield- broad base, tapering
plate before D- narrow crescent
roof mouth: 1 pr tooth patches - elliptical/round, well separated
gill rakers 14-17

Notarius rugispinis (Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1840)

Softhead Sea Catfish

Head narrow, flattened; snout long, overhanging mouth, blunt when viewed from above; shield on top of head very rough, small, not reaching to level of eyes; no groove on center top of head; bony process behind head shield long, tapering, with a broad base; bony plate before base of dorsal fin spine a narrow crescent; 2 pairs of close-set nostrils; no fleshy furrow extends across snout and connects rear nostrils; three pairs of barbels (on chin and both jaws), top pair reaching to pectoral fin; teeth on roof of mouth pointed to granular, one pair of small, elliptical to rounded, widely separated plates; gill opening wide, membranes not adhering to breast; no rakers on rear surfaces of first two gill arches; gill rakers on front of 1st arch 15-17 (14-17), on 2nd arch 18 (16-20); bony plate above base of pectoral fin triangular, pointed; tail fin deeply forked; a complete lateral line, with branches to top and bottom base of tail fin, no scales.

Grey to red-brown above, lighter below.

Reaches 45 cm.

Turbid estuarine and adjacent coastal waters.

Depth range: 0-20 m?

The Gulf of Paria, Venezuela, to the Amazon.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 45
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20