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Species: Varicus cephalocellatus, Ocellated Splitfin Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head: 2 yellow bars, yellow ocelli behind eye
body: 4 yellow blotches + 7 yellow saddles
Ds yellow stripes; C yellow bars, yellow below
D2 10; A 9
scales: wedge to under center D2
pelvics: to A base, ray tips fleshy pads

Varicus cephalocellatus Gilmore, Van Tassell & Baldwin, 2016

Ocellated Splitfin Goby

Body short, robust; head without pores; both nostrils tubular; a groove across top of front lip; gill opening restricted to length of pectoral fin base; gill membranes with 5 rays; dorsal fin VII + I, 10, tips of spines and tips of soft dorsal rays 1-6 with fleshy extensions; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 9; pectoral fin 19-20, rays 13-16 greatly extended, reach to front of anal fin base; pelvic fins I, 5, completely separate, no membrane between 5th rays, no front frenum between spines, all rays unbranched, with flattened fleshy tips, 5th ray ¼ -1/5 length of 4th ray, fins long, extend to front of anal fin base; body with rough scales in a wedge-shaped patch from tail base to under center of 2nd dorsal fin, 12-23 lateral scales, none on belly; base of tail fin with 2 large, rough scales; no lateral line.

Head and body translucent; head with numerous bright yellow marks: a thin bar down from eye, a bar down along edge of preopercle, two across nape, a cluster of small yellow ocelli surrounded by dark dots behind eye; iris yellow-green; body with 4 large mid-side yellow blotches, 1 under 1st dorsal, 2 under 2nd dorsal, 1 in center of end of tail base; top midline of body with 7 yellow saddles; 1st dorsal fin white, with 3 yellow stripes; 2nd dorsal white, with bright white submarginal stripe, base with extensions of 3 yellow saddles, center with 2 longitudinal rows of yellow spots; tail fin translucent white, with 4-6 vertical rows of small yellow spots, lower ¼ of fin yellow; anal fin with translucent base, yellow outer ¾, that suffused with black; pectoral base with yellow blotch above, a yellow spot below, fin with yellow pigment on rays; pelvics with yellow on inner membranes, tips of rays bright white. Note: fish on dark substrates can have darker colors, including yellow marks on body.

Reaches at least 8 cm

Rocky, to sand and rubble bottoms

Depth range 114-186 m

The lesser Antilles: Barbados, St Vincent, Bonaire.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • 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
  • Parasitic
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Antilles endemic
  • Caribbean endemic
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Island (s) only
  • 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
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 8
Depth Range Min
  • 114
Depth Range Max
  • 186