Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Rypticus bicolor, Cortez soapfish, Mottled soapfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body & fins dark + dispersed pale spots
juv: 3 stripes/ocelli on body
chin pointed, tip fleshy
preopercle and lower jaw - patches of small pores

Rypticus bicolor Valenciennes, 1846

Mottled soapfish, Cortez soapfish

Elongate, very compressed; forehead oblique; lower jaw prominently projecting, with fleshy knob at front; pores along ventral surface of lower jaw and margin of preopercle numerous, small, and occurring in patches (in specimens in excess of 65 mm SL); simple teeth in bands on jaws; 2 pairs of nostrils, anterior tubular; simple teeth in bands on jaws; 2-3 spines on preopercle; 3 spines on operculum; gill rakers 7-9 (usually 8); gill opening restricted above, most of upper part of operculum bound to body by skin; dorsal fin III (rarely II) spines, 23-26 rays; anal fin without spines, 16-18 rays; pectoral rays 14-17 (usually 16); median fins thick, fleshy; rounded tail and pectoral fins; scales imbedded.

Body brown, with numerous small cream or tan spots; small (under about 3 cm) juveniles with three narrow dark stripes behind eye extending back along side of body; 4-5 cm specimens with irregular ocelli-like spots on side.

Size: to 30 cm.

Inhabits rocky reefs sheltering in caves and crevices, but also encountered in the open.

Depth: 0-70 m.

Southern Baja and the Gulf oCalifornia to northern Peru, including the Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos and Malpelo.

Closely related to R. saponaceus (Bloch & Schneider) from the western Atlantic.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 70