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Species: Acanthemblemaria paula, Dwarf Spinyhead Blenny

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head spines: sharp, snout to near D, cluster 8-11 after eye
cirri: eye v branched, nasal 2-3 tips
D XVIII-XX; front: flap & large white blotch
front - white above, black below; bases D&A - alternating black & white marks

Acanthemblemaria paula Johnson & Brothers, 1989

Dwarf Spinyhead Blenny

Body elongate; short blunt head; sharp pointed, forward pointing spines on snout, to 2/3 distance between eyes and dorsal fin; 2 clusters of 8-11 spines behind eyes; multiple rows of well-developed teeth on side of roof of mouth; 1 pair of heavily branched cirri over eyes, each cirrus with up to 30 tips; nostrils with branched cirri with 2-3 tips; dorsal fin XVIII-XX, 15-19, fleshy flap at front of fin, a slight notch between spiny and soft parts; pelvics I (internal), 2-3, inserted before pectoral base; all fin rays unbranched; no lateral line; no scales.

Head and front of body pale grey, with black and greenish markings, lower head and chest blackish; rear transparent, with alternating black and white marks along mid-flank and along median fin bases; 7-8 white blotches along vertebrae; dorsal fin with a large white blotch at front.

Reaches 2.5 cm.

Found in invertebrate burrows in dead corals.

Depth range: 1-2 m.

Bahamas and the NW Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Barnacles & worm tubes
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC 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
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 2.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 2