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Species: Symphurus ommaspilus, Ocellated Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D & A: 1 large ocellus at rear, +/- faint dark blotches before those
gut cavity pale
D 75-79; A 60-64; C 10
bases of D & A - holes
with pupil cover
lateral scales 58-64

Symphurus ommaspilus Bohlke, 1961

Ocellated Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; body relatively deep, tapering gradually; head relatively wide and long, shorter than wide; snout long and pointed; eyes small, close together on left side, lower eye relatively large; well developed cover for pupils; mouth small, arched (strongly on blind side), at front or a little under snout; eye side lower jaw without fleshy crest; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin origin ~ above upper eye, 75-79 rays; anal fin 60-64 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 10 rays; scales rough, on both sides; rays of dorsal and anal without scales on blind-side; 58-64 lateral scales; no lateral line.

Top whitish with many scattered dark dots; blind side whitish to yellowish, without dark dots; dorsal and anal fins with a single large ocellus before tail base, often with one or more faint dark blotches before each ocellus; lining of gut cavity pale.

Size: 6.2 cm.

Habitat: sand bottoms in clear water near coral reefs of islands.

Depth: 1-51 m.

The Bahamas to the S Caribbean.

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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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Insular primarily
  • 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
  • 6.2
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 51