Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Varicus bucca, Puffcheek Goby, Puffedcheek Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

cheeks puffy
dusky + scattered dark dots
D2 9; A 7-8, dark
pectoral 16-19
pelvics separate, rays unbranched, with fleshy tips, reach A origin
22-27 lateral scales; belly all scaled/center naked

Varicus bucca Robins & Bohlke, 1961

Puffedcheek Goby, Puffcheek Goby

Body short, somewhat compressed; head large, compressed, narrow; cheeks puffy; no pores on head; between eyes very narrow, < ¼ pupil diameter; tongue deeply cleft to truncate; teeth in upper jaw in four rows, outer row greatly enlarged; teeth in lower jaw in three rows, outer row with 3-4 enlarged, inner row with 5-6 greatly enlarged teeth extending 1/2 way to rear of jaw; 7 gill rakers from angle to front limit of lower arm, rakers short, stubby, first at the angle slightly longer; gill opening a vertical slit restricted to length of pectoral fin base; gill membranes with 5 rays; dorsal fin VII, no spines elongate, + I, 9; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 7-8; pectoral fin 16-19; pelvic fins I, 5, 5th ray greatly reduced and attached to 4th, rays unbranched, with fleshy tips, membranes between them deeply indented, fins almost entirely separated, reaching to about anal fin origin; caudal fin rounded with 17 segmented rays; body covered with large rough scales, no scales on head, nape, pectoral fin base, chest and centerline of belly; scales rough on tail base becoming less rough towards front, 22-27 in lateral series, originate under inner base of pectoral; 2 very rough scales on tail fin base; belly scaled or center scaleless; no lateral line.

Head pale but with scattered melanophores on the cheeks and gill cover; body somewhat dusky above, unmarked below, the melanophores concentrated near scale margins; paired fins unmarked; dorsal-fin spines and rays with 2-3 grey spots per element; outer 2/3rd of anal-fin membrane densely covered with melanophores the entire fin appearing dusky.

Reaches: 4.5 cm.

Habitat: coral sands.

Depth: 110-384 m.

The Bahamas to the SW Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
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
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Island (s) only
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 4.5
Depth Range Min
  • 110
Depth Range Max
  • 384