Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Dactyloscopus lunaticus, Moonstruck sand-stargazer

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes stalked, with papillae
body: 12-15 narrow saddles; head spotted
C rays mostly branched
mouth pigmented
several rows scales over LL arch
no notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus lunaticus Gilbert, 1890

Moonstruck sand-stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes protrusible, on stalks, with 1 to several papillae; tubular nostrils, rear nostril opens near base of front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (usually unbranched), 15 (11-18) above, 24 (18-29) below; edge of operculum with 18 (10-24) skin flaps; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front III (0-IV) spines separate from fin and without membranes, XII (X-XIII), 29 (27-31); anal II, 33 (31-35); pectoral usually 13 rays; no notch under end of tail base; tail fin short (< 12% of SL), most rays branched; lateral line scales 46 (45-47); lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; several rows of cales above front part of lateral line .

Head irregularly spotted & flecked with brown; inside mouth pigmented; 12-15 very short narrow dark bars across upper back, pale interspaces wider than dark bars, often with brown marks; sides extensively flecked, with 1-2 indistinct lateral stripes; fins pale.

Size: 8.5 cm

Habitat: coastal sandy areas and tide pools.

Depth: 5-138 m.

Southern Baja and the Gulf of California to Ecuador.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Freshwater
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Brooded
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • All species
  • TEP endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 8.5
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 138