Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Symphurus oculellus, Caribbean Smalleye Tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes small
D, A, C alternating dark & light blotches
body 10-14 narrow bars
D 97-106; A 81-89
84-97 lateral scales
no pupil cover
operculum: dark blotch inside & outside
gut lining pale
bases D & A rays: no rough scales

Symphurus oculellus Munroe, 1991

Caribbean Smalleye Tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail, relatively elongate; head wide, its length < width; snout long and rounded; small close-set eyes on left side; lower eye small, about same position as upper eye; no cover for pupils; snout rounded; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side, reaches under or past rear edge of lower eye; eye side lower jaw with fleshy crest; preopercle edge covered with skin; dorsal fin 97-106 rays, its origin behind or over rear edge of top eye; anal fin 81-89 rays; pectoral fins absent, represented by a fine membrane; only left pelvic fin present, 4 rays, on body midline, joined to anal fin by delicate membrane; dorsal and anal fins confluent with the pointed caudal fin; tail fin usually 12 rays; scales rough, on both sides of body; 84-97 lateral scales; eyes without scales on front half; rear rays of dorsal and anal without rough scales on blind-side; no lateral line.

Top side brown, 10-14 narrow dark crossbars on head and body; outer side of operculum on eye side with a dark blotch; inside gill cover very dark on eye side; lining of gut cavity not pigmented; dorsal and anal fins with alternating dark and light blotches at rear; tail fin with outer 2/3 dark, inner 1/3 lighter.

Size: 20 cm.

Habitat: mud bottoms

Depth: 7-110 m.

The SW Gulf of Mexico; Guyana to north east Brazil.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 7
Depth Range Max
  • 110