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Species: Polydactylus virginicus, Barbu, Barbu Threadfin

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

gill rakers 26-30
pectoral pale, 7 free rays
A 13 (12-14)
LL 54-63, 7 LL above, 11 below

Polydactylus virginicus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Barbu, Barbu Threadfin

Elongate, compressed; snout short, conical, translucid, overhangs mouth; eyes large, longer than snout, with fatty cover, at front of head; mouth moderate, below, with bottom lip extending to front, but no top lip; tooth bands of top jaw touching in center; preopercle serrated; gill rakers 26-30 (mean 28); two well separated dorsal fins, VIII + I, 12; anal fin base short, III,13 (11-14); pectoral fin low on side, 14-16 (mean 15) rays on main part, plus lower portion consisting of 7 free filaments; horizontal length of total fin base shorter than upper jaw; pelvics well behind pectoral base, under 1st dorsal; tail strongly forked; scales rough; lateral line pored scales 54-63 (mean 58); 6-8 (mean 7) scales above lateral line, 10-12 (mean 11) below; lateral line extends onto tail fin.

Head and body olive to blue-grey above, whitish or yellowish below; snout translucent; dorsal and tail fins yellowish to dark, with black edges; pelvic and anal fins yellowish, with pale edges; pectoral fin pale, darker towards base.

Size: grows to 33 cm.

Inhabits sand-mud bottoms of bays, estuaries, and river mouths, also occurs along sandy beaches.

Depth: 0-55 m.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Beach
  • Freshwater
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • 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 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
  • 33
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 55