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Species: Symphurus piger, Deepwater Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

3-10 dark, narrow, strong cross-bars; C dark
gut cavity black
D 80-90; A 68-74; C 12
no pupil cover
62-75 lateral scales

Symphurus piger (Goode & Bean, 1886)

Deepwater Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, relatively deep, head much shorter than wide, snout short and rounded; small close-set eyes on left side; lower eye relatively small; 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; teeth along entire length of lower eyeside jaw, front ¾ of upper jaw; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin 80-90 rays, its origin behind or over rear edge of top eye; anal fin 68-74 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; 62-75 lateral scales; eyes with 4-5 rows of small rough scales on front half; rays of dorsal and anal without scales on blind-side; no lateral line.

Top side dark brown, with 5-6 (3-10) darker brown sharply contrasting narrow crossbars on head and body; tail fin all dark; inside operculum pale; lining of gut cavity black; blind side without dark dots.

Size: 14 cm.

Habitat: soft mud bottoms.

Depth: 92-750 m.

South Carolina to French Guiana.

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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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC endemic
  • 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
  • 14
Depth Range Min
  • 92
Depth Range Max
  • 750