Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Lactophrys bicaudalis, Spotted Trunkfish

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no spines before eyes
adult: spine lower rear corner of box
boxed closed around D
white + dense black spots
lips white
juv: orange + scattered black spots

Lactophrys bicaudalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Spotted Trunkfish

Body oblong, thick, enclosed in a bony box formed by thickened, joined, enlarged scale plates that are usually hexagonal in shape; carapace has openings for mouth, eyes, gill slits and fins and tail, completely surrounds bases of both anal and dorsal fins, without spines before eyes, with a pair of spines at lower rear corner in adults, last plates above and below tail base not prolonged as spines; mouth small, at front, lips fleshy; teeth moderate, conical, usually <15 per jaw; gill openings short, oblique slits in front of pectoral bases; no spiny dorsal, soft dorsal and anal fins at rear of carapace; no pelvic fins; tail base slender, flexible, tail fin a fan with a rounded end; dorsal, anal and pectoral fin rays branched; lateral line inconspicuous.

Pale grey to whitish; numerous dark brown to blackish spots, multiple spots per carapace plate; base of dorsal fin with black spots, occasionally entirely black; lips whitish; large fish with 2 prominent white spots behind eye. Juvenile: orange-white, with sparse round black spots.

Reaches 48 cm.

Found around clearwater reefs, and in seagrass beds.

Depth range: 2-95 m.

Georgia to Brazil; Ascension Is in the S Atlantic.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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
  • 48
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 95