Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Menticirrhus ophicephalus, Snakehead king-croaker

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D1: XI-XII, spines not reaching D2
C: slightly concave
pectoral: short
LL 63-66
breast scales v small

Menticirrhus ophicephalus (Jenyns, 1840)

Snakehead king-croaker

Body elongate, rounded in cross-section, belly flat; head long, low; snout ~ conical, projecting beyond horizontal mouth; teeth villiform, no canines, outer row teeth of upper jaw scarcely enlarged if at all; slits and pores above mouth; short thick barbel on chin with a pore at its point and several more at its base; gill rakers short, 6-9; preopercle weakly serrated; dorsal rays X-XI + I, 21-24, spines short, not reaching soft dorsal; anal rays I, 9, spine weak; pectoral 18-20, not reaching end of pelvics; tail concave, rounded tips; scales of head and body rough, scales on breast smooth, much smaller than those on body; soft dorsal and anal fins without basal scaly sheath; pored lateral-line scales 63-66.

Body and head pale silvery grey; dorsal dusky, spiny part darker; tail pale, broad dusky margin; anal dark grey, white front border; pectoral dark grey outer 2/3; pelvic dark grey, white front margin.

Size: 45 cm.

Habitat: coastal bays.

Depth: 1-20 m?

Ecuador to Chile.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Beach
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Peruvian province, primarily
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 45
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 20