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Species: Symphurus parvus, Pygmy Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark oblong before C; fins plain
gut cavity pale
D 75-86; A 60-70; C 12
bases of D & A - holes
with pupil cover
lateral scales 59-78

Symphurus parvus Ginsburg, 1951

Pygmy Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, relatively deep; head relatively long and wide, its length usually < than width; small close-set eyes on left side; lower eye larger; a 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; eye side lower jaw with a row of teeth all along its length, top jaw with a row along front 1/2-3/4; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin origin ~ above upper eye, 75-86 rays; anal fin 60-70 rays; bases of dorsal and anal fins with holes on membranes; 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 usually 12 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; 59-78 lateral scales; eyes with 4-8 rough scales at front; no lateral line.

Top side pale brown to yellowish, a conspicuous dark brown diamond-shaped to oblong blotch just before tail fin base; blind side whitish to yellowish, without dark dots; dorsal and anal without dark spots or blotches; lining of gut cavity pale; tail fin usually darker than dorsal and anal fins, sometimes with a dark its eye-side base, its blind-side membranes and rays with dark dots.

Size: 9.7 cm.

Habitat: mud bottoms.

Depth: 20-146 m.

North Carolina to Trinidad.

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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
  • Demersal
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 only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC endemic
  • 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
  • 9.7
Depth Range Min
  • 20
Depth Range Max
  • 146