Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Otophidium chickcharney, Ghost cusk-eel

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snout spine - bladelike
no pore over rear nostril
top of head: dark anchor-mark
opercle - slender, horizontal spine

Otophidium chickcharney Böhlke & Robins, 1959

Ghost cusk-eel

Body relatively short, stocky, compressed, tapering to rear; head profile convex above; eye large; between eyes with thin crest under skin, leading to a compressed blade-like spine with points forward and up on snout; no pore just before eye above rear nostril; an extensive groove and pore in upper lip under front nostril; front central pore between eyes is over pupil; mouth large, under slightly overhanging snout; gill rakers: 2-3 rudiments above, 4 short rakers below; opercle with sharp, partly hidden spine, that is slender, nearly horizontal and ~equal in length to pupil; dorsal and anal fins confluent with pointed tail fin; dorsal fin 111-116; anal fin 98-102; tail fin 9; pelvic fin with 2 unequal rays, inserted under eye; lateral line incomplete; scales small, elongated, arranged in basket-weave pattern, none on head.

Body pale; large fish with a dark streak along base of dorsal fin that joins a dark triangular area on top of head just behind eyes, forming a conspicuous anchor shaped mark; fins clear; mouth and gill chambers pale; scattered dark dots on tail.

Reaches 10.5 cm.

On exposed sandy shorelines and sandy bottoms near rocks and seagrass.

Depth range: 0-5 m.

The Bahamas to the southeast Caribbean

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • GC endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species..
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 10.5
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5