Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Macroramphosus gracilis, Slender Snipefish

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body shallow, lower profile ~ straight
front eye rim: no spines
2nd D spine: not passing D2 base
space between D bases > eye
D1 origin before anus
no obvious scutes between pelvics & A

Macroramphosus gracilis (Lowe, 1839)

Slender Snipefish

Body very compressed, oval, relatively shallow (depth at pelvic origin 18.6-22.1% of SL), lower body profile ~straight; head compressed; eyes large; crest at lower front edge of eye without spinules; mouth small, at front of a long tubular snout; no teeth on jaws; no gill rakers; pectoral fin with oblique base, slightly below midline; 1st dorsal fin V-VI, second spine greatly elongated, with serrated rear edge, but not reaching past 2nd dorsal fin base; 1st dorsal origin before anus; distance between bases of 2 dorsal fins > eye; 2nd dorsal fin and anal fin just before tail base; pelvics on abdomen; anal fin below 2nd dorsal; tail fin concave to convex; bony plates along flank above pectoral and sometimes along centerline of belly; body covered with small scales that have sharp ridges and spines; no bony scutes on lower body profile between pelvics and anal fin.

Adults reddish above, silvery below; juveniles silvery, back bluish-black.

Reaches 15 cm.

Juveniles to 11.5 cm pelagic; adults close to the bottom.

Depth range: 25-600 m, mainly below 100 m.

Probably worldwide in subtropical areas; The Gulf of Mexico to Uruguay.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Mud
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 25
Depth Range Max
  • 600