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Species: Protemblemaria punctata, Chameleon Blenny

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

each eye: 2 bushy cirri
nape - pair fleshy ridges
body: orange spots, larger at front
male D: red + front ocellus
female: raised front D dark blotch
under jaws: 3 dark bars
cheek dark + oblique pale bar



Protemblemaria punctata Cervigón, 1966

Chameleon Blenny

Body elongate; head rounded, blunt, its top not spiny; 2 bushy, branched cirri over each eye, in female the front cirrus is better developed, none on nape; nape with 2 fleshy ridges (sometimes absent in females; 1 row of teeth on each side of roof of mouth; dorsal fin XIX-XXI, 15-16, front part of fin slightly elevated in females, a flap along the front of the 1st spine in both sexes; no notch between spiny and soft parts; anal fin II, 21-24; pectoral fin 14 (13-15); pelvics I (internal), 2-3, inserted before pectoral base; all fin rays unbranched; no lateral line; no scales.

Male - head and front body black to greenish, upper back with a row of large dark brown blotches; rear body with many small orange spots; iris red, a pale bar angled back and down from eye across the dark preoperculum & operculum; sexually active fish orange-red fading to yellow with orange spots on rear body; throat and chest bright red; dark, eye-sized spots along base of dorsal fin; dorsal fin reddish, with a green/orange ringed ocellus at the upper front; front half of anal fin reddish, rear half anal yellow; tail fin yellow. Female & juvenile - brown to whitish; a white bar angled down and back from eye; dark bars on upper front body become narrower at rear of body, sometimes dark dots on body; head tan, top lips and snout with orange spots; a dark blotch on raised front part of dorsal fin; rest of fins with tan blotches.

Reaches 5.1 cm.

Lives in empty mollusk shells, on reefs and in mangroves.

Depth range: 2-20 m.

SE Caribbean.

Note: Introduced to the Gulf of Mexico, where it now has populations at Tampa and Veracruz.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • 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 gastropods/bivalves
  • 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 only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 5.1
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 20