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Species: Dactyloscopus lacteus, Milky sand-stargazer

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eyes on stalks, no papillae
top head: white T
body: 7-9 saddles, 2 stripes
C rays unbranched
no scales above LL arch
notch under end tail base

Dactyloscopus lacteus (Myers & Wade, 1946)

Milky sand-stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes protrusible, on long stalks, without papillae;  tubular nostrils, rear nostril opens behind opening of front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (usually unbranched), 9 (6 -11) above, 13 (11-16) below; edge of operculum with 10 (7-13) skin flaps; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front III (II-IV) spines separate from fin and without membranes, XI (X-XIII), 26 (24-28); anal II, 29 (28-31); pectoral usually 13 rays; notch under end of tail base; tail fin long, rays unbranched; lateral line scales 41-45; lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; no scales above front part of lateral line.

Body color variable, from pale, almost unmarked fish to strongly colored ones; inside of mouth unpigmented; large T-shaped pale blotch separating dark bars  across nape and between eyes; 7-9 dark saddles separated by small white blotches along dorsal fin base; flank with two dark stripes, along lateral line & base of anal fin; dorsal, anal and tail shaded with brown; dark blotch at tail fin base.

Size: 6 cm.

Habitat: coastal sandy areas and tide pools.

Depth: 1-10 m.

Cocos Island and the Galapagos.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Brooded
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Multiple oceanic islands endemic
  • All species
  • TEP oceanic island (s) endemic
  • Island (s) only
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Vulnerable
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 10