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Species: Dactyloscopus pectoralis, Whitesaddle stargazer

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes stalked, no papillae
top head white T; back - white saddles
C: rays unbranched
mouth unpigmented
lip flaps unbranched: 9 above, 14 below
no scales over front LL
D ~XII, 24: A ~28
notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus pectoralis Gill, 1861

Whitesaddle Stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes protrusible, on stalks, without papillae; tubular nostrils; rear nostril opens at base of front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (usually unbranched), 9 (7-11) above, 14 (12-19) below; edge of operculum with 12 (8-16) skin flaps;dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front III-IV spines separate from fin and without membranes, XII (X-XIII), 24 (23-26); anal II, 28 (26-30); pectoral usually 13 rays; notch under end of tail base; tail fin long (~18.3% SL), rays unbranched; lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; lateral line scales 42 (39-44); no scales above upper front part of lateral line, usually none above arch of line.

Upper head pale brown, a broad white T shape blotch across top of rear part of head with forward extension to nearly between eyes; an oblique double bar (front bar dark, rear bar white) down and back from eye; usually a white blotch on upper rear part of operculum; inside mouth unpigmented: upper back grey-brown, with a series of ~7-10 white, dark-edged saddles along midline of back, sides paler, flecked with dark marks; may have dark stripes along straight rear part of lateral line and above anal fin.

Size: attains 5.3 cm.

Inhabits sand bottoms, including in tide pools.

Depth: 0.2-46 m.

Southern Baja California and the west and northeast Gulf of California.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Brooded
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • TEP endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Cortez province endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 5.3
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 46