Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Family: BLENNIIDAE, Combtooth Blennies, Combtooth Blenny

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

+/- cirri: nostrils, eyes & nape
D X-XIII, 11-22 (fewer spines than rays)
fin rays unbranched, except on C
teeth - numerous, 1 row, incisors, + lower rear large canines
no scales



Blennies are small fishes (to ~ 20 cm) with elongate bodies; usually a relatively blunt head, with the eye high on its side; usually cirri or skin flaps on the eye, sometimes on front nostrils and nape; mouth low on the head, not protrusible; jaw teeth numerous, slender incisors, close-set, either fixed or moveable, in a single row, a pair of large canines at the rear of the lower jaws, and sometimes the upper; teeth rarely on center of roof of mouth, never on sides; gill openings either unite under throat or are restricted to sides; dorsal fin continuous, long-based, X-XIII flexible spines, 11-22 segmented rays, usually fewer spines than soft rays, with or without a notch between spines and rays; anal fin long based, II spines; pelvic fins insert before pectoral base I, 2-4; fin spines flexible; all segmented fin rays unbranched, except those of tail fin, which are almost always branched; lateral line varies from complete to present only on front body; no scales.

Blennies are well represented in all tropical and subtropical seas, with 57 genera and ~ 385 species. In the Greater Caribbean 20 species from 9 genera are known: 17 endemics, 2 NW Atlantic species, and one Indo-west Pacific species (Omobranchus punctatus) introduced to the area.