Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Lythrypnus phorellus, Convict Goby

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3-4 rows spots radiate under eye
D1 no elongate spines
narrow pale bars: + dark centerline
dark bars with broad pale centerline
pectoral base - 2 joined spots, lower larger

Lythrypnus phorellus Bohlke & Robins, 1960

Convict Goby

Body relatively deep, compressed; head compressed, profile round; front nostril a long tube, rear a raised rim; head without pores; papillae around mouth, on cheeks and operculum and over eye;mouth very oblique; tongue bluntly pointed; upper and lower jaw with a row of enlarged, spaced canines and a broad band of tiny, elongate, pointed teeth; gill opening narrow, ~pectoral base; gill membranes with 5 rays; dorsal fin VI (none elongate) + I, 8-9; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 8 (7-9); pectoral 15 (14-16), all unbranched; pelvics I, 5, fused into disc; tail fin short, round, with 17 segmented rays; scales rough, body scaled except chest and pectoral base, 25 (23-26) lateral rows, none on head and nape; no lateral line.

Body translucent with dark bars that vary in color from orange to orange-brown; dark bars with translucent central areas; dark center lines in pale bars (which are narrower than dark bars) between adjacent dark bars black; cheek with spots arranged in 3-4 rows radiating from bottom portion of eye; spots and bars on head same color as dark body bands; red coloration of gills visible through translucent portion of gill cover; first and second dorsal fins transparent, with color of dark body bands extending up onto base of fins, and with remainder of fin with fine scattered melanophores; tail fin transparent, with scattering of orange spots on fin rays; pectoral and pelvic fins transparent; 2 indistinct dark brown blotches on pectoral fin base, lower spot larger and darker than upper; leading edge of anal fin bright orange, remainder of fin with a wash of yellow-orange; pupil black, iris varying from bright red-orange to dark brown.

Reaches only 1.8 cm.

Depth range: 1.5-34 m.

Coral reefs under ledges and in rock rubble areas.

N Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico; the SE Caribbean

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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
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 1.8
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 34