Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Ptereleotris helenae, Hovering Dartfish, Hovering Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

fins yellowish
head blue stripes
Ds & A : blue & red outer stripe
C rounded/oblong, top & bottom margins blue & red

Ptereleotris helenae (Randall, 1968)

Hovering Dartfish, Hovering Goby

Body very elongate, compressed; head strongly compressed; mouth very oblique, opens above, lower jaw projecting, chin with longitudinal fold; dorsal fin VI + I, 23-25; anal fin I, 22-24; pectoral fins 20-22; pelvic fins separate, I, 4; tail fin rounded in adults, slightly concave in juveniles, moderately long; scales very small, usually non-overlapping, embedded, 135-166 on mid-side, smooth with a few rough at rear, head scaleless; no lateral line.

Head and body pale bluish-gray, with lavender overtones; blue stripe from between eyes to dorsal origin; 2 blue stripes behind eye; yellow stripe on underside of head; dorsal and anal fins greenish-yellow; red stripe near outer edge of the second dorsal and anal fins and the upper and lower edges of the tail fin.

Reaches 12.0 cm.

Habitat: Found on sandy or coral rubble bottoms; Inhabits 'U-shaped' burrows. Often in pairs.

Depth range: 3–180 m.

The Bahamas to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • 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 + Island (s)
  • GC 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
  • 12
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 180