Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Rypticus saponaceus, Greater Soapfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark + many pale blotches & spots
lower jaw v projecting, + knob
D III, 23-26
pores on lower jaw & preopercle: small, numerous, in patches

Rypticus saponaceus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Greater Soapfish

Body elongate, very compressed; forehead oblique; 2 pairs of nostrils, anterior tubular; snout long, 6-9% SL; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; lower jaw prominently projecting, with a fleshy knob at front; pores on lower jaw & preopercle small, numerous, in patches; simple teeth in bands on jaws; 2-3 spines on preopercle; 3 spines on operculum; gill opening restricted above, most of upper part of operculum bound to body by skin; preopercle with 1-3 spines, opercle with (usually 2) 2-3 spines; 7-9 gill rakers; dorsal fin III, 23-26 (usually 24); anal fin 0, 16-18 (usually 17); pectoral rays 14-17 (usually 16); median fins thick, fleshy; rounded tail and pectoral fins; scales imbedded.

Body dark brown to grey-brown, covered with numerous irregularly distributed small pale blotches.

Size: to 35 cm.

Inhabits rocky and coral reefs in silty to clearwater conditions, and adjacent soft bottoms; not uncommonly encountered in the open during the day.

Depth: 0-213 m.

The W and E Atlantic; N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Corals
  • Estuary
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
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)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 35
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 213