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Species: Opsanus beta, Gulf toadfish

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body dark, flank - light spots
D2 24-25
inside mouth pale
pectoral 18-19, light spots form bars

Opsanus beta (Goode & Bean, 1880)

Gulf toadfish

Head and front of body moderately depressed; head wide (24.6-36.6% of SL), with many barbells, especially around lower jaw; 2 solid spines on upper opercle and 1 below those; teeth molar-like to pointed, but no canines; gill openings restricted to side, before pectoral fin base; dorsal fin with III solid spines, spiny and soft parts joined, soft part 24-25 rays; anal fin 19-23; dorsal and anal fins not joined to tail fin; pectoral 18-19, discrete glands between upper pectoral rays on inner surface of fin; a pore opening to surface at rear of base of pectoral fin; 2 lateral lines, no light organs; no scales.

Brown to grey brown, marbled and mottled with white; pale areas on rear of body often in rosettes, sides dark, with small light spots, no dark reticulations; pectoral fin with light bars formed by rows of round light spots; inside mouth without dark pigment.

Reaches 38 cm.

Lives on shallow seagrass beds and rocky bottoms; often in conch shells; marine to brackish.

Depth range: 0.5-5 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to the northern Caribbean; Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Insects
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Sessile crustacea
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Benthic
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5
Length Max
  • 38