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Species: Symphurus marginatus, Margined Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark brown; D & A bases - brown stripe; tail base dark
gut cavity black
D 93-104; A 80-89; C 12
elongate, uniform width front 2/3
no pupil cover

Symphurus marginatus (Goode & Bean, 1886)

Margined Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, relatively elongated, nearly uniform width along front 2/3 and only a gradual taper at the rear; head long and narrow; small close-set eyes on left side; no cover for pupils; snout rounded; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side, extends to below front edge of lower eye; lower jaw without fleshy crest on eye-side; eye side lower jaw with a row of teeth all along its length, top jaw with a row along at least front 3/4; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin origin ~ above upper eye, 93-104 rays; anal fin 80-89 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 usually 12 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; 86-99 lateral scales; front parts of eyes partly covered with rough scales; no lateral line.

Top side uniform dark brown; a dark, circular blotch covering tail and tail base; lining of gut cavity black; blind side white to yellowish, without dark dots; dorsal and anal with a dark stripe along their bases, dark at rear, especially around tail blotch; tail fin dark at front, pale at rear.

Size: 15.5 cm.

Habitat: soft mud bottoms.

Depth: 37-1758 m (mostly between 320-550 m).

New Jersey to SE Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
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 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
  • 15.5
Depth Range Min
  • 37
Depth Range Max
  • 1758