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Species: Chalinops pauciradiatus, Spotted Dragonet

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

pale, densely spotted & mottled
male: D1 spines filamentous
C long, pointed
opercular spine - 3 points, curved up
lower body skin keel with row dark spots
D 6; A 4

Chalinops pauciradiatus (Gill, 1865)

Spotted Dragonet

Squat, stout bodied, somewhat depressed, tadpole shaped; body with a keel of skin along its lower edge on each side, from belly to tail fin base; a small mouth that angles down when open, with a protrusible top jaw; preoperculum with a large, broad-based spine with a three-pointed, upturned tip, but no spines or the operculum; gill openings small and high on the shoulder; two dorsal fins, IV flexible spines + 6 soft rays, spines very long and ending in filaments in male; anal fin with 4 rays and no spines; pectorals large, rounded; pelvics insert under preopercular spine, large, reach past anal fin origin in males; tail fin long, pointed; lateral line complete, extends onto tail fin; no scales.

Pale tan, heavily spotted and mottled; skin keel along lower edge of body with a row of dark spots; belly with dark reticulations in male; skin keel along lower edge of body with a row of dark spots; male usually with a dark bar across mouth and a dark diagonal bar across eye & orange blotches on head; fleshy membrane connecting rear edge of pelvics to midline of origin of pectorals with metallic dark rings; throat with small open and solid circles.

Reaches 7.5 cm; females to about half size of males.

Lives associated with seagrass beds.

Depth range: 1-44 m.

N Carolina to the S 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
  • Submerged vegetation
  • 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)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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
  • 7.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 44