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Species: Dormitator maculatus, Fat Sleeper

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body deep
head blunt, robust, scaled to snout tip
dark lines radiate from eye
blue-black blotch above pectoral base
rear body - oblique, forward pointing bars
lateral scales 25-36



Dormitator maculatus (Bloch, 1792)

Fat Sleeper

Head and body somewhat compressed, body relatively deep, deepest before dorsal fin; eyes on side of head; snout blunt; mouth large, strongly oblique, front reaching well above level of lower edge of eye; tongue rounded; teeth slender, moveable, with straight tips, in 2 rows on jaws, none on front of roof of mouth; gill membranes broadly joined to throat, with 6 rays; gill rakers 40-65; two separate dorsal fins, VII weak spines + I, 9, base of 2nd dorsal <distance from the end of that base to tail fin; pectoral 14, rounded, 77-100% of head length, reaching to or past anus; anal fin I, 9; pelvics I, 5, long (70-96% of head length), completely separated; scales large, 33 (31-35) along side, usually 30 or less on nape before dorsal fin, 8-11 rows between origin of second dorsal fin and origin of anal fin; scales smooth on head, rough on body, head and cheeks scaled, with fine scales to tip of snout; no lateral line.

Color: dark brown to blackish; rear of body with oblique, forward pointing, dark bars; a large bluish black blotch on side above base of pectoral fin; outer margins of dorsal and anal fins reddish.

Reaches: 13.6 cm.

Habitat: Inhabits marshes, muddy ponds and channels with a salinity range of 0 to 21 ppt. Mostly found in fresh water in the lower reaches of streams, but also in brackish mangrove areas.

Depth: 0-5 m.

North Carolina to southeastern Brazil.

Note: This appears to constitute at least 3 or 4 species: D. sima from the southwest Gulf of Mexico, D. cubanus from southwest Cuba, possibly D. lophocephalus from Suriname, and D. maculatus from the rest of the range, including northern and eastern Cuba.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Bony fishes
  • Detritus
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-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
  • 13.6
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5