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Species: Eleotris perniger, Smallscaled Spinycheek Sleeper

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body: lines of spots
scales before D 49 (39-62)
canines at rear
upper pectoral base: dark spot
lateral scales 60 (54-68)

Eleotris perniger (Cope, 1871)

Smallscaled Spinycheek Sleeper

Head broad, depressed; body robust; snout short; interorbital broad, 3 times eye diameter; mouth large, oblique, lower jaw projecting; upper jaw extending to middle or end of eye; several rows of fine teeth on jaws, with an outer row of large canines at rear, and/or in inner row where jaws meet at front of mouth; front nostril tubular overlapping upper lip, rear nostril an open pit; gill opening extends to below opercle; a strong, forward-pointing spine embedded in the skin at the lower rear corner of the preopercle; gill membranes broadly joined to throat, with 6 rays; dorsal fin VI + I, 8 (7-8), base of 2nd dorsal < distance from the end of that base to tail fin; pectoral 18 (16-19); anal fin I, 8; pelvic I, 5, fins separate, no anterior membrane; scales mostly smooth at front, rough on body; predorsal scales 49 (39-62); 60 (54-68) scales in lateral series; top of head (except tip of snout), cheeks and opercle scaled; tiny scales between eyes; no lateral line.

Body dark brown laterally along the top or tan with rows of dark brown spots on sides sometimes forming thin horizontal pin-stripes; abdomen lighter; cheek with two dark stripes radiating posteriorly from eye; a large dark spot on upper pectoral-fin base which may be covered by the opercular membrane.

Reaches: 10.0 cm.

Habitat: juveniles in tidal creeks, over a substrate of sand and rocks amid mangrove roots; adults in fresh water lakes.

Depth: 0-5 m.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
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 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
  • 10
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5