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Species: Symphurus plagusia, Duskycheek Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

uniform / 8-14 faint, narrow bars
D & A dark / faintly barred
C base & tip dark
D 89-97; A 73-81; C 12
gut cavity pale
lower jaw - fleshy ridge
no pupil cover
lateral scales 79-89

Symphurus plagusia (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Duskycheek Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, fairly deep, tapering gradually from behind midpoint; head wide, shorter than wide; snout long, squarish; eyes small, close-set, on left side; lower eye small, spherical; no cover for pupils; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side, reaches just past lower eye; eye side lower jaw with fleshy crest; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin 89-97 rays, its origin behind or over rear edge of top eye; anal fin 73-81 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 fin usually 12 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; 79-89 lateral scales; eyes without scales on front half; rays of dorsal and anal without scales on blind-side; no lateral line.

Top side pale brown to yellowish, sometimes with 8-14 faint narrow crossbars; blind side yellowish, without dark dots; occasionally a dusky blotch on upper operculum; dorsal and anal fins uniformly dusky, occasionally with alternating blocks of dark and unpigmented fin rays; tail dusky at base, tip dark; lining of gut cavity without pigment.

Size: 14 cm.

Habitat: mud bottoms, including in estuaries.

Depth: 1-100 m.

Cuba to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • 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)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 14
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 100