Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Symphurus undecimplerus, Dark-cheek tonguefish, Imitator tonguefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body darker at rear, 6-9 faint diffuse bars
D & A: last 1/3 dark
C black
mouth not reaching past eye
under operculum (but not around gut) dark
D 97-105; A 80-87; C 11

Symphurus undecimplerus Munroe & Nizinski, 1990

Dark-cheek tonguefish, Imitator tonguefish

Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; eyes small close-set, on left side, pupils with well developed covers; snout rounded; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side, short, not reaching rear of eye; margin of preoperculum concealed by skin and scales; dorsal origin ~ above upper eye; dorsal rays 97-105; anal rays 80-87; 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 11 rays; no lateral line; scales rough, on both sides of body; scales in longitudinal series 95-112.

Top side light to dark brown, becoming darker on rear ¼; 6-9 diffuse crossbars, many complete, most obvious in mid-body; dorsal and anal clear, last 1/3 darker than body; tail black; dark blotch on lower mid operculum; lining of gut cavity without pigment.

Size: 15 cm.

Habitat: sand and mud bottoms.

Depth: 15-55 m.

Southern Mexico to Peru.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • Mexican + Panamic provinces endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 55