Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Girella simplicidens, Gulf opaleye

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blue eye
3-4 weak pale spots under D
D, A & C angular tips
incisors: 1 point

Girella simplicidens Osburn & Nichols, 1916

Gulf opaleye

Body oval, moderately compressed;  head blunt, short; mouth small, square, lips thick, opens at the front; the top jawbone slips partially under the under-eye bone when the mouth is closed; teeth incisiform, bases set horizontally in mouth, with curved, hockey-stick shape, outer band of large movable teeth with flattened, 1 pointed tips; no teeth on central roof of mouth; dorsal fin continuous, XIV spines that fold down into a scaly groove, 14; anal rays III, 12; spines on fins short, thick; dorsal and anal fins with angular tips; tail straight, angular tips; paired fins are relatively short; origin of the pelvics behind the base of the pectoral fin; scales small, thick and rough, covering the body, head (except the snout) and soft portions of the median fins; scales in midlateral series about 50.

Dark brownish grey, usually slightly lighter on head and breast; three or four diffuse whitish spots on upper back below dorsal-fin base; eye bright blue.

Size: to 46 cm.

Habitat: often seen in large schools that graze on algae on rocky reefs.

Depth: 1-15 m.

Gulf of California; abundant in the northern Gulf, but scarce in the southern portion.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef only
  • Water column
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Ectoparasites
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Sessile crustacea
  • Sessile worms
  • Sessile molluscs
  • Benthic microalgae
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • TEP non-endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • California province, primarily
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 46
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 15