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Species: Opsanus phobetron, Scarecrow toadfish

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D2 23-25
fins - strong bars
inside mouth & gill chamber black
pectoral 17-18

Opsanus phobetron Walters & Robins, 1961

Scarecrow toadfish

Head and front of body moderately depressed; head narrow (19.5-30.1% of SL), with many barbells, especially around lower jaw; distance between eyes about = eye diameter; 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 3 solid spines, spiny and soft parts joined, soft part 23-25, rarely 26 rays; anal fin 19-23 rays; dorsal and anal fins not joined to tail fin; pectoral rays usually 17-18, 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; body without scales.

Grey brown with brown to black markings; inside top and bottom of mouth and gill chamber black in adults, pale in young; a dark bar under front of eye, a dark bar between eyes, continuing through eyes and obliquely back down to corner of operculum from eye; irregular dark bars on body; soft dorsal and anal fin with ~8 oblique, relatively narrow bars that are widest at the fin margins; tail fin with irregular bars, pectoral fin with narrow dark bars and cream spots.

Reaches 21.5 cm.

Lives in shells in shallow water.

Depth range: 0.5-12 m.

The Bahamas and Cuba.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s) only
  • All species..
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21.5
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 12