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Species: Eleotris pisonis, Spinycheek Sleeper

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canines at rear
dark spot on upper pectoral base: absent/vague
lateral scales 40 (32-49)

Eleotris pisonis (Gmelin, 1789)

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, 9, base of 2nd dorsal < distance from the end of that base to tail fin; pectoral 17 (15-19); anal fin I, 8 (7-8); pelvic I, 5, fins separate, no anterior membrane; scales mostly smooth at front, rough on body; predorsal scales 54 (47-63); 40 (32-49) scales in lateral series; top of head (except tip of snout), cheeks and opercle scaled; tiny scales between eyes; no lateral line.

Body tan to dark brown, often with a few scattered brown spots on upper sides; top of body occasionally lighter than sides; abdomen lighter; 2 stripes radiating across cheek posteriorly from eye; usually no dark spot on upper pectoral-fin base, if present not highly defined and not as dark as pigment on side of nape.

Reaches: 25 cm.

Habitat: Adults in fresh water and estuaries; young along coast.

Depth: 0-5 m.

Venezuela to Brazil

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5