Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Paraselene orstedii, Hairfin lookdown, Mexican moonfish

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nape profile rounded
forehead concave, high
D & A filamentous lobes
large scaleless area on breast to behind pelvics onto pectoral base
pelvics not tiny
juvenile: D, A & pelvics filamentous
Paraselene orstedii (Lütken, 1880)
Mexican moonfish,     Hairfin lookdown
Body pentagonal shape and strongly compressed; head very deep with nape profile rounded and very steep; concave forehead-snout profile; tooth patch on roof of mouth with a 4 pointed star shape;  lower gill rakers (excluding rudiments) 14-17; dorsal rays VIII+I, 16-18, spines of dorsal fin short, with at least last one isolated; anal rays II+I, 17-20; dorsal and anal fin spines become embedded with age; dorsal and anal fin lobes prolonged in adults; in juveniles front spines of dorsal and anal fins elongate and filamentous; pelvic fins elongate in juvenile, becoming short but not tiny in adults, anal spines filamentous in small juvenile; pectoral long, curved; lateral line with front curved part and front of straight part with smooth scales, rear of straight part with 18-22  poorly developed, small scutes (hard spiny scales); a large scaleless area on breast extends behind pelvics, up onto pectoral base and narrowly behind edge of operculum. scales very small, imbedded in skin, body appears scaleless.
Overall silvery.
Size: attains 31 cm.
Habitat: demersal on sandy bottoms; juveniles common in estuaries.
Depth: 1-50 m.
Southern Baja and the mouth of the Gulf of California to Ecuador.

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  • Freshwater
  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Beach
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
  • Estuary
  • Sand & gravel
  • Water column
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 31
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 50