Genus: Eleotris, Spinycheek Sleeper, Sleepers
lateral scales 40-76
Elongate, stout body; head broad, depressed; snout short, blunt; a strong, forward-pointing spine embedded in the skin at the lower rear corner of the preopercle; mouth oblique, large, lower jaw strongly projecting; teeth small conical, in several rows on jaws; gill membranes broadly joined to throat, with 6 rays; two separate dorsal fins, VI weak spines + I, 7-8, base of 2nd dorsal < distance from the end of that base to tail fin; anal fin with I spine; pelvics I, 5, long, completely separated; scales small, 41-76 laterally, smooth at front, rough at rear; top of head (except tip of snout), cheeks and opercle scaled; tiny scales between eyes; no lateral line.
This circumtropical genus of fishes occurs primarily in freshwater and is found on tropical and subtropical coasts of all three oceans. Adults of all are restricted to freshwater, but juveniles are frequently found in intertidal areas of low salinity near the mouths of rivers. The genus has about 20 species; 2 W Atlantic and one SW Atlantic species occur in our region.