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Species: Symphurus minor, Largescale Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark: rear D & A, tail base & C base
D 69-81; A 54-64; C 10
bases of D & A - holes
gut cavity pale
with pupil cover
lateral scales 56-67

Symphurus minor Ginsburg, 1951

Largescale Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, relatively wide; head shorter than wide; small, close-set eyes on left side, lower eye relatively large; well-developed 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; teeth cover all of eye side lower jaw and front 1/2-2/3 of upper jaw; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin origin ~ above upper eye, 69-81 rays; anal 54-64 rays; membrane at base of most of dorsal fin rays and all of anal fin rays with a hole; 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 10 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; no scales on blind side of dorsal and anal fins; 56-67 lateral scales; no lateral line.

Top side pale brown, with irregular dark marks; a well developed dark brown blotch a little before tail fin base; blind side uniformly white to yellowish, without dark dots; dorsal and anal pale at front, shading to dark at rear; base of tail fin dark; lining of gut cavity pale.

Size: 8.5 cm.

Habitat: sand bottoms with a lot of live growth; estuaries.

Depth: 18-170 m.

North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.

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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
  • 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
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 8.5
Depth Range Min
  • 18
Depth Range Max
  • 170