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Species: Symphurus diomedeanus, Spottedfin Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

mottled; D & A 1-5 black spots, C +/- spot
D 86-96; A 69-80; C 10
gut cavity pale
with pupil cover
lateral scales 79-96

Symphurus diomedeanus (Goode & Bean, 1885)

Spottedfin Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; body fairly deep; head long and narrow, length shorter than width; small close-set eyes on left side; lower eye relatively large; cover for pupils present; snout rounded; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side; eye-side lower jaw without fleshy crest; eye side top jaw usually without teeth; preopercle edge covered with skin;dorsal fin origin ~ above upper eye, 86-96 rays; anal 69-80 rays; only left pelvic fin present, 4 rays, on body midline, joined to anal fin by delicate membrane; pectoral fins absent, represented by a fine membrane; dorsal and anal fins confluent with the pointed caudal fin; tail fin usually 10 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; 79-96 lateral scales; usually no scales on blind side of dorsal and anal fins, occasionally 1-2 scales on bases of rays; no lateral line.

Top side brown, mottled with irregular large dark blotches (fish collected from pale substrata are uniformly light brown to yellowish); rear of dorsal and anal fins with 1-5 conspicuous round dark brown to black spots midway between fin edge and base; tail dark brown to black, occasionally with a single round black spot near outer edge; blind side creamy to yellowish, without dark dots; inside operculum and lining of gut cavity without pigment.

Size: 22 cm.

Habitat: sand and shell bottoms; enters brackish water.

Depth: 6-316 m.

North Carolina to Uruguay.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • 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
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
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)
  • Continental primarily
  • 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
  • 22
Depth Range Min
  • 6
Depth Range Max
  • 316