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Species: Dactyloscopus zelotes, Imitator sand-stargazer

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eyes stalked, 1 papilla
chin not strongly projecting
dark saddles: nape 2, back 10
C: rays branched
mouth pigmented
lip flaps: ~16 above, ~23 below
scales over LL arch
no notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus zelotes Jordan & Gilbert in Jordan & Evermann, 1896

Imitator Sand-stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; lower jaw not strongly projecting beyond lower lip; eyesprotrusible, on short stalks, with 1 papilla; tubular nostrils, rear nostril opens at base of front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (usually unbranched), 16 (15-18) above, 23 (22-25) below; edge of operculum with 20 (15-25) 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, XIII (XII-XIV), 32 (31-33); anal II, 36 (35-37); pectoral usually 13 rays; no notch under end of tail base; tail fin short, some rays branched; lateral line scales 51 (49-52); lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; area above front section of lateral line completely scaled, with several rows of scales.

Inside mouth pigmented; head with dark bar across eyes,nape with 2 dark bars; 10-11 wide dark bars along upper back; side with 2 dark stripes (along lateral line & above anal fin); fins pale or mottled with brown; tail fin with distinct dark spot on base.

Size: 10.5 cm.

Habitat: estuaries and coastal sandy areas.

Depth: 1-20 m.

El Salvador to Panama.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • 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 worms
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent only
  • Panamic province endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 10.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 20