Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Ophidion lagochila, Harelip Cusk-eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head top cavernous, dark, black behind
snout: 1 spine, tip wrinkled, with 3 fleshy flaps
D 123-125
fins pale
gill rakers 0+4-5
A 103-105

Ophidion lagochila (Bohlke & Robins, 1959)

Harelip Cusk-eel

Elongate, compressed; head compressed; top of head cavernous; snout tip wrinkled, grooved, and with 3 fleshy flaps hanging down under nostrils to lower jaw level on each side, with a small spine that is hooked backwards; rear end of top jaw bone rounded, not expanded; gill rakers: 3 rudiments above, 4-5 rakers below; operculum with a strong, hidden spine; dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail; dorsal fin 123-125; anal fin 103-105; pelvic fins (each with 2 rays of unequal length) inserted under eye; scales smooth, elongate, not overlapping, at right angles rather than regular series, none on head, or midline of belly or on nape; lateral line along most of body.

Tan, darker above; rear of top of head outlined in black, cavernous top of head dark; fins pale. Juvenile: body pale; vertebral column visible in a dark streak; a dark streak along the lateral line; top of head with a dark 6-pointed blotch

Reaches 7 cm.

Benthic on sandy bottoms around coral heads and limestone rocks.

Depth range: 1-15 m.

Bermuda to the SE Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • 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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Island (s) only
  • 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
  • 7
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 15