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Species: Stellifer chaoi, Chao Stardrum

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head low, wide, spongy, translucent
chin 4 pores
mouth large, oblique, opens at front
dark band behind front teeth
gill rakers long, 43-49, 1st arch dark
preoperculum 6-9 spines
scales atop head smooth + 1-2 rows rough on center nape

Stellifer chaoi Aguilera & Solano & Valdez, 1983

Chao Stardrum

Body elongate, more or less compressed; head large, low and broad, skull cavernous, translucent, spongy to touch, wide between eyes; mouth moderately large, oblique, opens at front; chin with 4 pores, no barbels; snout with 8 pores; preopercle with 3-4 prominent bony spines at angle, 3-5 small ones above those; gill rakers long and slender, 43-49, longest raker >filament at angle of gill arch; top corner of gill opening notched; deep notch between spiny and soft parts of dorsal fin, X-XII + I, 19-23; anal fin with short base II, 8-9, 2nd spine long and thick; tail fin with a blunt point; pored lateral line scales 46-49; scales mainly rough on body, mainly smooth on head, 1-2 rows rough on center of nape; soft dorsal and anal fins covered with smooth scales; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Silvery grey with yellow reflections; pectorals, pelvics and anal pale to blackish; a dark band at front behind teeth; 1st gill arch dark.

Reaches 13 cm.

Shallow coastal sand and mud bottoms, including estuaries.

Depth range: 3-20 m.

Panama to Venezuela.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 13
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 20