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Species: Halieutichthys bispinosus, Spiny Batfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

back: large, sharp tubercles
pectoral: 1 broad bar +1 thin, edge yellow
on top eye: row tubercles
all 3 tubercles on shoulder: large, sharp
back: fine dark meshwork
tail base - many tubercles
juv: pectoral base - incomplete dark blotch

Halieutichthys bispinosus Ho et al, 2010

Spiny Batfish

Head and body very depressed, greatly expanded to form a circular disc; tail moderately long; mouth very small; cavity on snout for lure very small, blocked by puffy folds of membrane; lure a single central bulb; a cover over pupils; buckler at angle of operculum not larger than adjacent bucklers; gill openings small, behind upper base of pectoral fin; gill rakers in form of tiny pads of teeth set on low stalks; dorsal and anal fins small, at rear of body; base of pectoral fins broadly attached to tail base; pelvic fins not reduced in size; lateral line complete, plus a pair of lateral line organs on base of tail behind anus, no tubercles associated with lateral line; scales are large, irregular, pitted tubercles, many tubercles on tail base; tubercles relatively large and sharp on upper body; a row of tubercles almost always present above eye; triangle of 3 tubercles on side of each shoulder behind eye with all 3 tubercles well developed and pointed; adults with no scales under body and large areas of top of body without scales.

Body greenish to dark brown, with pale network on upper surface; pectorals with outer broad dark bar and inner dark bar, both extending across fin, a bright white bar between those, edge of fin usually yellow. Juveniles similar to adults but with large black patch on pectoral, that not extending across fin.

Reaches 10.1 cm.

Lives on sand and mud bottoms.

Depth range: 15-400 m, mainly <100m.

N Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • 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
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • 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
  • 10.1
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 400