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Species: Macroramphosus scolopax, Longspine Snipefish

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body deep, lower profile convex
front eye rim: + spines
2nd D spine: reaches C
space between D bases < eye
D1 origin over anus
protruding scutes between pelvics & A

Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Longspine Snipefish

Body very compressed, oval, relatively deep (depth at pelvic origin 21.7-27% of SL), lower body profile convex; head compressed; eyes large; crest at lower front edge of eye with 2-3 rows of spinules; mouth small, at front of a long tubular snout; no teeth on jaws; no gill rakers; pectoral fin with oblique base, slightly below midline; 1st dorsal fin V-VIII, second spine greatly elongated, with serrated rear edge, reaches to tail fin; 1st dorsal origin over anus; distance between bases of 2 dorsal fins < eye; 2nd dorsal fin and anal fin just before tail base; pelvics on abdomen; anal fin below 2nd dorsal; tail fin concave to convex; bony plates along flank above pectoral and sometimes along centerline of belly; body covered with small scales that have sharp ridges and spines; well developed protruding bony scutes on lower body profile between pelvics and anal fin.

Adults reddish above, silvery below; juveniles silvery, back bluish-black.

Reaches 23 cm.

Juveniles to 11.5 cm pelagic; adults close to the bottom.

Depth range: 25-600 m.

Probably worldwide in tropical to temperate areas; Maine to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Mud
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 23
Depth Range Min
  • 25
Depth Range Max
  • 600