Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Heteristius cinctus, Banded sand-stargazer

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

flank: row of several white spots
3 black bars + ~ 12 black & white saddles
D: II finlet + [I or (I+ I) free] + XVI-XIX
C no branched rays
both lips + flaps
belly scaled

Heteristius cinctus (Osburn & Nichols, 1916)

Banded sand-stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head pointed; eyes not on stalks; top and bottom lips with skin flaps; tubular nostrils; dorsal fin in 3 parts, front part a II-spined finlet with its origin over nape, then 1-2 free spines before the main part of the fin, II + (I-(I + I)) + XVI-XIX, 18-22; segmented anal rays 33-36 (usually 34-35); pectoral rays 13-15 (usually 14); lateral line continuous, bends down under dorsal spines VIII-XII; scales smooth, head scaleless, belly completely scaled; total lateral-line scales 52-56; scales in straight (posterior) part of lateral line 31-35 (usually 32-33).

Translucent, with 3 blackish bars on side and about 12 blackish saddles across back, each bordered by white saddles; several white spots along mid-side; a central black blotch just before base of tail fin; tail fin with a white bar on its base.

Size: to 4.5 cm.

Habitat: sandy bottoms.

Depth: 1-30 m.

Southern Baja and the mouth of the Gulf of California to Ecuador.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 4.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 30