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Species: Dactyloscopus metoecus, Alien sand-stargazer, Mexican stargazer

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eyes stalked, no papillae
nostrils: rear nostril opens behind front
13-15 saddles, 2 stripes, nape mottled
C: unbranched rays
top lip: ~14 flaps
1 row scales over LL arch
notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus metoecus Dawson, 1975

Mexican Stargazer, Alien 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 front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (usually unbranched), 14 (12-16) above, 20 (18-23) below; edge of operculum with 13 (10-16) skin flaps; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front IV (III-V) spines separate from fin and without membranes, XII-XIII, 25 (24-26); anal II, 30 (29-31); pectoral usually 13 rays; notch under end of tail base; tail fin rays unbranched; lateral line scales 44 (42-45); lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; 1 row of scales above front arch of lateral line.

Inside mouth unpigmented; rear of top of head with/without pale T-shaped blotch behind eyes; 13-15 short dark bars across upper back; side extensively flecked, sometimes with 1-2 stripes along lateral line & above anal fin base; fins pale, tail pale to flecked.

Size: 4 cm.

Habitat: coastal sandy areas.

Depth: 0.1-20 m.

Central Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Brooded
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Mexican province endemic
  • Continent only
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20
Length Max
  • 4