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Species: Ogcocephalus cubifrons, Polka-dot Batfish

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horn = short, upturned knob
sides: network pale lines on dark background
eye to gill opening: row dark ocelli
pectoral 12-13, rays with pads, inner 2/3 - pale + network dark spots, yellow edges

Ogcocephalus cubifrons (Richardson, 1836)

Polka-dot Batfish

Head depressed but elevated above disk; disc triangular; snout pointed, rostrum overhanging lure is narrow and long in juvenile; a short, upward pointing knob in large adults, which have massive heads; fish-lure with 3 fleshy points, in a small cavity under horn; eyes on sides of head; between eyes >77% of jaw length; mouth small (width <59% of head depth); spine at lower rear corner of operculum blunt or little developed; gill rakers are oval plates covered with small teeth; gill openings small, behind upper base of pectoral fin; dorsal and anal fins small, at rear of body; pectoral and pelvic fins limb-like; pectorals completely separated from body, with 12-13 rays, skin on underside of rays thick and spongy, forming pads near tips of rays, fin membrane thick and opaque; skin covered dorsal fin on tail, small fleshy anal fin (usually 4 rays) under tail; top of body with large bucklers as well as conical spines; underside of body completely covered with pointed, bony scales; underside of tail densely covered with small prickles, with sometimes a few conical spines along midline; 7-8 lateral line scales under operculum; cheek lateral line scales 8.

Adults pale brown to coppery red above, variegated with orange red and yellow-orange patches, chiefly behind eyes; a band of dark, light-ringed spots from eye to gill opening; pectorals pale, with a bright pattern of dark spots, forming a network pattern on its inner 2/3; sides of head and trunk with a network of light lines on a dark background; small fish with pectorals and tail yellow, sometimes with dark brown margins.

Reaches 38 cm.

Habitat soft bottoms.

Depth range: 0-70 m.

N Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico, also in 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)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
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 North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 38
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 70