Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Grammicolepis brachiusculus, Thorny Tinselfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

adult: oval
C long, forked
juv: spiny scutes on body
D: 39-41, base - 34-36 spines
juv: back & A - black bars

Grammicolepis brachiusculus Poey, 1873

Thorny Tinselfish

Body strongly compressed, oval in adult, diamond-shaped in juvenile, body depth much greater than head length; eyes large; head bones soft and thin; mouth minute, top jaw length ½ of eye diameter; jaws with a few minute conical teeth, none on roof of mouth; soft rays of dorsal, anal and pectoral unbranched; dorsal fin VI-VII + 32-35, spines relatively short in adult, 1st spine greatly elongated in juvenile; juvenile with a row of 29-34 spiny scutes at base of dorsal fin rays, 27 along bases of anal fin bases; anal fin II free spines + 33-35, 1st spine greatly elongated in juvenile, short in adult; pectoral fin 14-15 rays, much shorter than head; pelvics I, 6; tail fin long, bluntly forked, with longer top lobe, long in juveniles, shorter in adult; scales are vertically elongated, over most of head and body; tail fin long, bluntly forked, top lobe longer, 13 branched rays; young with ~10 widely scattered bony scutes on body and tail base.

Adults plain silver; juveniles silver, with irregular black spots on body and tail fin, a series of thin black bars along upper back,3-5 black bars on anal fin.

Reaches 64 cm.


Depth range: 250-1511 m.

Worldwide in temperate to tropical areas; Georges Bank to central Brazil in the west Atlantic.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 64
Depth Range Min
  • 250
Depth Range Max
  • 1511