Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Symphurus arawak, Caribbean Tonguefish, Coral Reef Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eye side - 2-7 bars, C: +/- dark triangle
blind side - pepper dots
gut cavity pale
D 70-76; A 55-61; C 12
no pupil cover
lateral scales 55-65

Symphurus arawak Robins & Randall, 1965

Coral Reef Tonguefish, Caribbean Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; body relatively deep, deepest at front 1/3 of body; head long and wide; snout long and pointed; eyes small, close together, lower eye larger; no cover on pupil; front nostril on blind side a bump; mouth small, arched (strongly on blind side), at front or a little under snout; eye side lower jaw without fleshy crest; teeth well developed on all jaws; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal 70-76 rays; anal 55-61 rays; pectoral fins absent, represented by a fine membrane; only left pelvic fin present, 4 rays, on body midline, joined to anal fin by delicate membrane; dorsal and anal fins confluent with the pointed caudal fin; tail fin 12 rays; scales rough, on both sides; rays of dorsal and anal without scales on blind-side; 55-65 lateral scales; no lateral line.

Top side yellowish to whitish, 2-7 (usually 4-5) complete or incomplete diffuse dark bars on body, sometimes extending onto bases of fins; sometimes with short, incomplete crossbars forming 6-10 large, irregularly placed blotches; tail fin dark to black; blind side with small dark dots along trunk, best developed along fin bases and covering entire rear 1/3 of body; dorsal and anal pale at front, gradually shading to very dark at rear; lining of gut cavity without pigment.

Size: 6 cm.

Habitat: on reef rock and sand areas adjacent to coral reefs.

Depth: 3-39 m.

The Bahamas to the S Caribbean.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • 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
  • 6
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 39