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Species: Symphurus rhytisma, Patchtail Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark blotch: rear D & A + C base
D 83-87; A 68-71; C 12
gut cavity pale
no pupil cover
lateral scales 91-97

Symphurus rhytisma Bohlke, 1961

Patchtail Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; body moderately deep; head long and narrow; snout moderately long and pointed; eyes small, close together on left side, no cover over pupil; mouth reaches to just behind front of pupil, lower jaw without fleshy crest on eye-side; well developed teeth on all jaws; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal origin ~ above upper eye, 83-87 rays; anal fin 68-71 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 12 rays; 91-97 lateral scales; no scales on dorsal and anal fin rays on blind side; no lateral line.

Body whitish to palid, usually 8 (2-8) faint, narrow cross-bars on head and body; a diffuse dark blotch covering basal 1/3 of tail fin and rear of dorsal and anal fins, outer 2/3 of tail fin unpigmented; inside operculum and lining of gut cavity unpigmented; blind side pale, without dark dots.

Size: 5 cm.

Habitat: sand bottoms near coral reefs.

Depth: 3-25 m.

The Bahamas to Brazil.

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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
  • 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)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 5
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 25