Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Symphurus elongatus, Elongate tonguefish, Small-eyed tonguefish

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eyes very small, pupils without covers
uniform tan
mouth ends behind eye
lower jaw: fleshy crest
D 99-107; A 83-90; C 12

Symphurus elongatus (Günther, 1868)

Elongate tonguefish, Small-eyed tonguefish

Body highly compressed, very elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; eyes on left side, tiny, very close-set, pupils without covers; snout rounded; mouth small, reaches past eye, curved, strongly so on blind side, eye-side lower jaw with large fleshy crest; margin of preoperculum concealed by skin and scales; dorsal origin ~ above upper eye; dorsal rays 99-107; anal rays 83-90; dorsal and anal fins confluent with the pointed tail fin; only left pelvic fin present, 4 rays, on body midline, joined to anal fin by delicate membrane; pectoral fins absent, represented by a fine membrane; tail with 12 rays; no lateral line; scales rough, on both sides of body.

Top side pale to dark brown, at times with faint dark cross-bars; inside operculum & lining of gut cavity dark; blind side white; fins clear.

Size: 17 cm.

Habitat: sand and mud bottoms, including estuaries.

Depth: 1-100 m.

Eastern Gulf of California to Ecuador.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Estuary
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom only
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Continent only
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 17
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 100