Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Prionotus tribulus, Bighead Searobin

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body: 3 short oblique bars
D1 central blotch
gill rakers 8-16
pectoral: rounded, to center A base, brown + dark bars

Prionotus tribulus Cuvier, 1829

Bighead Searobin

Head large (>1/3 SL), deep, robust; no cirri at nostrils or over eyes; no spines at nostrils; mouth large, reaches to under front edge of eye, opens slightly under snout, lower jaw not projecting; preopercular spine reaching past operculum; 8-16 gill rakers; dorsal rays X, 12; anal rays 10; pectoral fin with rounded rear edge, 13-14 joined rays, lower rays not longer than upper, reaches ~1/2 way along anal fin base, with 3 enlarged, free rays at bottom of fin; body scaled; chest scaled; membrane above opercular spine with scales; nape with scales.

Body brown to grey-brown; lower body white to yellowish white; 3 short oblique dark bars on upper body; pectoral fin brown with dark cross bars, green color at outer lower part of fin, free rays barred; spiny dorsal with a large dark blotch at spines IV-V; tail fin blackish, with a pale bar at its end.

Size: reaches 45 cm.

Habitat: mud-sand bottoms.

Depth: 9-183 m, usually 9-64 m.

New York to the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 45
Depth Range Min
  • 9
Depth Range Max
  • 183