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Species: Gillichthys mirabilis, Long-jawed mud-sucker

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

nape with scales
eyes look to side
cheek - dark stripe
flank - row dark blotches
space between Ds < / 1 / 3 D1 base
body: lower 1/3 pale
pectoral: top ray tip not free, usually 21 or less
D2 I, 11-12; A I, 10-11

Gillichthys mirabilis Cooper, 1864

Long-jawed mud-sucker

Moderately elongate, body compressed; head large (> 25% TL) broad, flattened, upper head profile convex;  snout pointed; sensory papillae on head small, crowded, númerous; eyes small, far apart, on upper side of head, directed to side; jaws very long - lower extends ½ way to gill opening, upper to pectoral fin; preopercle covered with skin; teeth small, conical, 4-5 rows on each jaw; first dorsal fin low and rounded, VI (IV-VIII) spines; 2nd dorsal fin I, 11-12; anal fin with short base, I, 10-11; pectoral broad, rounded, usually 21 or fewer rays, top rays not partly free from fin; pelvics form disc, membrane between pelvic fin spines without side lobes; tail rounded; scales small (~ 90 rows along side), imbedded, rough in juveniles, mainly smooth in adults; scaled space between dorsal fins 1/3 or less than length of 1st dorsal fin base;  top of nape with narrow strip of non-overlapping imbedded scales; skin covered with thick mucous.

Brown to blue-black, mottled above, yellowish below; lower ½-1/3 of body usually pale; diffuse dark stripe along cheek, dark blotch on operculum; a row of dark blotches mid-laterally from operculum to tail base; soft dorsal fine oblique bars, other fins unmarked. Juveniles - 8 bars on body, black blotch at rear of first dorsal fin, pale bar across tail base, sometimes a dark spot behind that.

Size: 21 cm.

Habitat: burrows in shallow mud bottoms in tidal flats and bays, coastal lagoons.

Depth: 0-5 m.

California to central Baja and the upper and central Gulf of California.

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  • Non Marine
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Benthic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent only
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Continent
  • California province, primarily
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 5