Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Coryphopterus tortugae, Sand Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark triangle over opercle
body: 3 rows dark marks, lower row = crescents
pelvics in a disc
D2 & A: 9
pectoral 18-20, base - no lower dark spot
C base dark bar

Coryphopterus tortugae (Jordan, 1904)

Sand Goby

Snout short, profile straight; crest on head; head pores present, usually 1 between center of eyes, 1 pair between rear nostril; papillae on cheek in horizontal rows; mouth small, relatively horizontal; gill membranes broadly joined to body under throat, with 5 rays; dorsal fin VI + I, 9; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 9; pectoral fin 19 (18-20); pelvic fins I, 5, fused into a disc, joined at front, with frenum; tail fin rounded; body covered with scales, scales large, rough, absent from head, 26-27 in lateral series; no lateral line.

Body translucent, with abundant internal yellow-orange to brown marks, and external white spots; body with 3 rows of dark marks, marks in lower row vertically elongate, usually crescentic, occasioally X shaped; top of head with central row of dark spots; white stripe along cheek; two orange stripes extending back from eye, upper stripe incomplete, often broken into short segments; a conspicuous triangular black spot above the operculum; no dark spot in the lower portion of the pectoral fin base; a dark grey bar on base of tail fin.

Reaches: 6.2 cm.

Habitat: sandy bottoms with coralline areas in clear to slightly turbid waters.

Depth: 0-32 m.

Bermuda to the southern Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC 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
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6.2
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 32