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Species: Starksia variabilis, Variable Blenny

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body 3 rows dark blotches
cheek: pale reticulating area with dark blotches, spots
behind upper eye - dark blotch + white chevron bar
lips + dark bars

Starksia variabilis Greenfield, 1979

Variable Blenny

Body elongate, compressed; bluntly pointed head; eye, nostril and nape cirri unbranched, nasal cirrus longest; dorsal fin XXI (XX-XXI), 8 (7-9), a notch between spines and rays; anal fin II, 17 (17-18), 1st anal spine of male long, free from rest of fin, modified as sexual organ, no ridge or fold along anal fin base; pectorals usually 14; pelvic fins I (internal), 2, inserted before pectoral base; all fin rays unbranched; lateral line continuous, front section arched, rear section straight, 17 (16-18) + 20 (20-21) scales; belly naked; smooth scales on rear of body.

Cheek dark, with a pale reticulating stripe from eye back onto operculum, that often encloses dark blotches, sometimes with dark-ring spots in &/or behind lower edge of that area; lips with black bars; top of head between eyes white, with a black blotch, a dark blotch behind upper part of eye, that with a white chevron behind it; body with 3 rows of dark blotches - top of back, (which extend onto dorsal fin base), midflank and below that, usually with dark dots around edges of those blotches; pectoral base with 2 dark spots on base of rays; a dark brown spot between 1st 2 dorsal fin spines; anal fin like dorsal.

Reaches 4 cm.


Depth range: 1-5 m.


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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • 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
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 4
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 5