Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Microdesmus knappi, Fat-lipped worm-goby

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eyes tiny, high
dense dark dots - upper body & head
lips - fleshy, large flaps
A 21-23
pectoral 11

Microdesmus knappi Dawson, 1972

Fat-lipped Worm-goby

Slender, wormlike, body height 4-8% of SL; tail (without fin) < 50% of SL; head deep; eyes tiny, high on side of head, skin covered; snout square and blunt; lips prominent, swollen, with folds that join at rear of mouth to form a long flap; teeth in 1-3 rows; gill opening large (not tubular), but shorter than base of pectoral; dorsal fin spines evenly spaced, XVI-XVIII, 28-30, origin over pectoral; anal II, 21-23; pectoral 11 rays; pelvics I, 3, shorter than pectorals; tail fin rounded; dorsal and anal fins confluent with tail fin; scales small, non-overlapping, well separated; most of head, chest, and all of belly scaleless, a few on cheek and nape; fins scaleless except for 2-3 rows on base of tail.

Reddish-brown to pink; upper body and head with a dense scattering of dark brown dots, which disperse and disappear below, dots larger on opercle; lips pale with dark spot at tip of lower jaw; dorsal fin pale with few dots on rays; tail base densely dotted, rays with dark streaks, outer margin pale; other fins clear.

Size: 7 cm.

Habitat: holes in intertidal beachrock.

Depth: 0-2 m.


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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Rocks
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Panamic province endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 7
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 2