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Species: Dactyloscopus poeyi, Shortchin Stargazer

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eyestalk short
eye without spots/flaps
D XII-XIII, usually 2-3 free spines at front
upper body: 10-13 brown bars, often stripe on flank, inside mouth pigmented
top lip flaps 13-17
rear nostril a hole near front tubular nostril
A 32-35
no scales on nape

Dactyloscopus poeyi Gill, 1861

Shortchin Stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes on top of head, distinctly stalked, stalks ~length of eye diameter or slightly longer,with/without a spot at tip; mouth upturned, with a protruding lower jaw, tip of lower jaw blunt when viewed from above; tubular nostrils; rear nostril a single pore near base of tubular front nostril; top jaw not reaching only under center of eye; both lips with skin flaps, usually 13-17 on top lip; operculum with 17-20 skin flaps; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, fin usually discontinuous, usually 2-3 free spines at front, XII-XIII (XI-XIV) spines, 28-29 (26-30) rays; anal fin II, 33 (32-35); pelvic fins inserted under throat, each with I, 3, rays thickened and free at the tips; no notch under lower edge of tail fin base;lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales large, smooth, head and belly scaleless; 47 (45-48) pored scales; no scales on nape before dorsal fin; 3-4 rows of scales between lateral line and 1st dorsal spine, 1.5-2 rows under rest of spines.

Top and sides of head blotched with brown; upper body with 10-13 brownish bars between nape and tail fin base, often with indications of a dark stripe along mid flank; often pigment inside mouth.

Reaches 6 cm.

In sand bottoms in surgy areas.

Depth range: 0-10 m.

The Bahamas through the 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
  • Beach
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • 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
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10