Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Carapus bermudensis, Pearlfish, Bermuda Pearlfish

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tip snout: no skin flaps
both jaws: no large front fangs
lives inside seaslugs



Carapus bermudensis (Jones, 1874)

Pearlfish, Bermuda Pearlfish

Slender, short, cylindrical to compressed body, long slender tail; no small fleshy flaps on tip of snout; top jaw bone not bound to side of head by skin; no large curved fangs at front of jaws; top jaws with multiple rows of small conical teeth, with an outer row of 6-10 small, slender teeth at front side; lower jaw with outer row of sharp, conical teeth, multiple inner rows of short, blunt teeth; teeth on sides of roof of mouth short, blunt, conical; center of roof of mouth with central row of 5-9 large, stout teeth, and 1 row of short blunt teeth on each side; gill opening extends above mid-side, gill membranes not united below; gill rakers well developed, (except in a non Atlantic species); dorsal origin well behind origin of anal; anal fin rays longer than dorsal fin rays opposite them; well developed pectoral fin; no pelvic fins; anus and origin of anal fin before base of pectoral fin; dorsal and anal fins confluent with tail fin.

Translucent, body cavity with silver lining; dark star-shaped blotches on head and along body.

Reaches 20 cm.

Lives in the body cavities of holothurians (sea cucumbers).

Depth range: 0-235 m.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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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)
  • Bivalves & sea cucumbers
  • 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
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • 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
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 235