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Species: Emblemaria diphyodontis, Spiny Sailfin Blenny

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head blunt
male: eye cirrus 1.5X eye
male D: front v high, spine I longest; flap at base, membranes I-IV v indented
female: D - front elevated + oblique bars
front side roof of mouth: 2 rows teeth

Emblemaria diphyodontis Stephens & Cervigón in Stephens, 1970

Spiny Sailfin Blenny

Body elongate; head short and blunt, swollen and elevated behind eye in male; head without spines; 2 slightly rough longitudinal bony ridges on snout; 1 unbranched cirrus over eye that is up to 1.5X eye length in male (1/4 eye size in female); side of roof of mouth with 2 rows of teeth at front, 1 behind; dorsal fin XIX-XXII, 13-16, male with front of fin greatly elevated and sail-like, 1st spine longest, with membranes between first 4 spines with deep U shaped indentations, with a flap-like flag on base of 1st spine, female with elevated front of dorsal fin; anal fin II, 22-24; pectoral 13; pelvics I (internal), inserted before pectoral base, longer than pectoral, with 3 obvious rays (3rd ray >1/4 length of longest ray); all fin rays unbranched; no lateral line; no scales.

Bright yellow-brown to greenish brown; sides of head and front body with numerous dark dots, fewer of those further behind, body sometimes with dark bars, cream saddles along upper back; female with front of dorsal fin grey to greenish with oblique bars, with brown dots in rows on blue-tinted spines, front spines may be dark, rear of fin clear to yellowish, with dots along base of fin, or not at all; anal fin grey-brown, darker on front half; pectorals and tail fins clear; pelvics dark grey-brown; mating male darker, with bluey bars around mouth and chin, bluey white spots along base of anal fin, several rows of blue spots along central and rear spines of dorsal fin.

Reaches 7.0 cm, females much smaller.

Lives in shells in shallow, clearwater rubble and shell bottoms.

Depth range: 5-20 m.

SE Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • 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)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 7
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 20