Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Brotula barbata, Atlantic Bearded Brotula, Bearded Brotula

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snout and chin - 6 barbels each



Brotula barbata (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Atlantic Bearded Brotula, Bearded Brotula

Body elongate, relatively deep, compressed, tapering to rear; eye large; front nostril halfway between top lip and rear nostril; snout and lower jaw each with 3 pairs of barbels; mouth large; no tooth patch at lower front of gill arches; small pointed teeth in bands on jaws and roof of mouth; operculum with a spine; gill openings large, membranes not joined under throat; pointed tail fin continuous with dorsal and anal; dorsal fin origin before anal fin origin; each pelvic fin is a 2-rayed filament, origin under throat, well behind eye; scales small, smooth, slightly overlapping, on head and completely covering body.

Body uniform olive brown to reddish brown; sometimes spotted or freckled.

Size: to ~100 cm.

Inhabits juveniles on shallow reefs, adults benthopelagic in deep water, on and over soft bottoms.

Depth: 1-650 m.

Tropical E & W Atlantic; S Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Corals
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 100
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 650