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Species: Starksia spinipenis, Phallic Blenny

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head cirri small
cream stripe - snout through eye
body: clusters dots form irregular bars
belly scaleless
LL 38-42

Starksia spinipenis (Al-Uthman, 1960)

Phallic Blenny

Bluntly pointed head; a short, slender, unbranched cirrus on each nostril, above eye, and on each side of nape; roof of mouth with teeth at front and sides; dorsal fin XIX-XXI, 8-10, a notch between spines and rays; anal II, 16-19, 1st anal spine of male free from rest of fin, 1.7 times length of 2nd spine, modified as sexual organ, tip extending beyond fleshy tip of 1st anal spine; no ridge or fold along anal fin base; pectorals 14 (13-15); pelvic rays 2; belly scaleless; lateral line scales 38-42.

Head pinkish to yellowish; body whitish with 3 rows of clusters of square brown spots forming irregular bars; a narrow pale yellow stripe from snout through top of eye, another through lower eye; a dark spot immediately behind lower part of eye; operculum with dense dark dots; pectoral base with several dark dots; fins uncolored, base of dorsal fin with a row of dark spots.

Size: grows to 6.5 cm.

The most common member of the genus in the Gulf where is occurs in shallow sand-weed areas.

Depth: 1-20 m.

Gulf of California to southern Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Live birth
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Cortez + Mexican provinces endemic
  • All species
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • 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
  • 6.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 20