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Species: Citharichthys spilopterus, Bay Whiff

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eye small, between eyes narrow + crest
elongate oval
D 76-84; A 57-63
end tail base: dark spot
lower head profile angular
gill rakers 3-5 + 11-12
LL straight, 43-47

Citharichthys spilopterus Gunther, 1862

Bay Whiff

Body a moderately elongate oval (usually <45% of SL); snout a little projecting, nape concave; eyes on left side, not large (<25% of head), close-set, only a narrow bony crest between them; lower head profile angular; mouth medium length ends under lower eye, top jaw 39-44% of head; teeth ~equally developed on both sides of jaws, fixed teeth in 1 series on each jaw, no canines; gill rakers long and slender, 3-5 + 11-12; edge of operculum on blind side without cirri; 76-84 dorsal fin rays, origin of fin before upper eye; anal fin 57-63 rays; pectoral fin on both sides of body, with branched rays; pelvic fins symmetrically positioned on belly, base of eye-side fin on body midline, short bases, 6 rays; urinary papilla on blind side, immediately behind anus; lateral line well developed on both sides, eye-side line ~straight, from edge of opercle to tail base, no branch under lower eye; scales rough on eye side, smooth on blind side, 43-47 on lateral line.

Brown; with scattered pale and dark brown spots, sometimes a row of dark spots along inner half of dorsal and anal fins; a dark spot at end of tail base, near the tail fin.

Reaches 20 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms, in hypersaline and brackish water, estuarine dependent.

Depth range: 1-75 m.

New Jersey to S Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Hypersaline
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 75