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Species: Stephanolepis setifer, Pigmy filefish

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longitudinal rows short, dark lines
snout short, profile concave
male D2 - filamentous ray
D & A 27-29
pelvic flap small

Stephanolepis setifer (Bennett, 1831)

Pigmy filefish

Body deep, compressed; a relatively short pointed snout; snout profile slightly concave; a small mouth that opens at front; teeth moderately strong, six in outer row on top jaws and six in a single row on bottom jaws; gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; 2 dorsal fins, 1st with II spines, 1st spine over rear 1/2 of eye, long, with hooked spines along its rear edge, does not fold down into a deep groove, erectile, can be locked in position by small 2nd spine, second dorsal fin ray elongate in male, 27-29 (27-30); anal fin 27-29 (26-30); pelvic fin rudiment evident as a spine protruding from a group of enlarged scales, those scales flexible dorsoventrally; scales minute, innumerable, skin rough; tail base without spines, its skin same as that on rest of body; male with patch of bristles on tail base; skin flap between pelvis and anus relatively small.

Color variable, brown to tan, with irregular bars and blotches of darker and lighter color; body often with narrow incomplete stripes formed by dark spots and streaks; tail fin with 2 indistinct dark bars.

Reaches 20 cm.

Lives in seagrass beds and on sand and mud bottoms; often with floating sargassum.

Depth range: 1-80 m.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Mud
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Hard corals
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
  • Benthic
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends North of GC
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max (cm)
  • 20
Depth Range Min (m)
  • 1
Depth Range Max (m)
  • 80