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Species: Diapterus aureolus, Golden mojarra

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body oval
Ds almost separate
D1: grey, white & black
bone under eye smooth
preopercle serrated

Diapterus aureolus (Jordan & Gilbert, 1882)

Golden mojarra

Body oval (depth ~ 45% of SL), compressed; the lower profile of the head distinctively concave; the mouth highly extensible, pointing downward when protruded; lower border of preopercle finely serrated; bone under front of eye with smooth border; teeth inside throat all pointed; dorsal rays IX, 10, elevated at front, notched deeply to base between spines and rays, 2nd  spine longer than distance between tip of snout and rear of eye; anal rays III, 8, 2nd  spine relatively large, but shorter than fin base; pectoral reaches past level of anal fin origin; tail fin deeply forked; lateral line very high on side, well above longitudinal axis of body along all of body; scales on front of body enlarged, becoming much smaller on tail base, conspicuous and finely rough, covering most of head and body; dorsal and anal fins fold into a high scaly sheath along their bases; lateral-line scales 35-36.

Silvery white, often with golden tint; fins yellowish, first dorsal with grey base, whitish center and black tip.

Size: grows to at least 20 cm.

Inhabits sand-mud bottoms of shallow coastal seas.

Depth: 0-30 m?

The Gulf of California to northern Peru.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Estuary
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Continent only
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 30