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Species: Varicus vespa, Wasp Goby

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body 4 bars
D1: yellow stripe + white edge
D2: rows yellow spots + white stripes
C dark & white bars
D2 9; A 6-8
pectoral 15-17
pelvic ray 5 < spine
scales: 9-14 laterals, rear scales rough, 2 large on C base
bdlly scaleless

Varicus vespa (Hastings & Bortone, 1981)

Wasp Goby

Body compressed; head broad, somewhat flattened; head without pores; papillae on most parts of head and nape; anterior and posterior nostrils tubular, front one longer; tongue tip indented; gill membranes broadly joined to body under throat, with 5 rays; dorsal fin VII + I, 9; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 6-8; pectoral 15-17; pelvic fins I, 5, completely separate, no membrane between 5th rays, no front membrane between spines, rays 1-4 branched to tips, without flat fleshy pads, 5th ray not branched, much shorter than 4th, < pelvic spine; fins long, reach past anal fin origin; scales in lateral series 9-14, reach to under ray 9-14 of 2nd dorsal, smooth in front, rough at back, 2 large very rough scales on tail base; belly scaleless; no lateral line.

Body pale yellowish, with pinkish tint at front near pectoral base; translucent on rear; four prominent olive, vertical bars on body, top to bottom, becoming darker towards bottom; first bar under mid-spinous dorsal fin, second just posterior to second dorsal-fin origin, third connecting end of second dorsal fin with end of anal fin, fourth at caudal base; several olive saddles on body, all saddles paler than vertical bars, and not extending below midline of body; bright yellow bar extending vertically from eye to angle of jaw; first dorsal fin with a wide, yellow-olive stripe medially and a white stripe distally; second dorsal fin with three rows of yellow-olive spots separated by three white stripes; two vertical bars on tail fin followed at end by a white bar.

Reaches 3.8 cm.

Habitat: reefs.

Depth: 35-183 m.

NE Gulf of Mexico, possibly Guyana.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • Gulf of Mexico endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 3.8
Depth Range Min
  • 35
Depth Range Max
  • 183