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Species: Aulopus bajacali, Eastern Pacific flagfin

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mouth ends under eye
end top jaw wide
red brown + yellow
male: D front filament
C: bony scales at base
tongue with teeth
scales: rough, head & body
Aulopus bajacali Parin and Kotlyar, 1984
Eastern Pacific flagfin
Body slender and cylindrical; head robust, with pointed, conical snout; mouth large, opens at front, ends under eye, with two supramaxilla bones above rear, expanded part of maxilla; teeth on jaws, tongue and roof of mouth; eyes large, horizontally eliptical with circular pupils; 13-16 gill rakers; fins without spines; first dorsal fin high, its origin over or a little behind pelvic origin, with 14-17 rays, rays 2-4 very long in male; second dorsal fin a flap of skin with a short base; pelvics on thorax, not reaching past anus, their origin behind base of pectorals; pectorals on mid-side, 12-14 rays; anal fin 10-13 rays, originates on rear ½ of body; tail fin strongly forked, 10 + 9 rays; scales on most of head and body; those on cheeks and operculum enlarged; 12-14 scales before dorsal fin; bony scales covering bases of tail fin rays; lateral line complete, with 48-54 scales; body scales with a spine, large plate-like smooth scales on belly, spiny scales on breast.
Color: Brown, paler below (silvery in female); most fish with four large dark saddles on upper body (under front half of dorsal fin, just behind that fin, under second dorsal fin, on rear of tail base), with irregular blotches on side between the saddles; yellowish along side and lower surface of body; head with dark blotches, and a large dark blotch covering at least upper half of opercle; most of upper half of eye yellow, top jaw with yellow; dorsal fin without dark lines, that of male: 3 yellow blotches on base, large red and yellow blotch on rear 4-5 rays, elongate rays red; of female: 3 yellow blotches on base, 4 large orange blotches along center of fin; second dorsal fin - large yellow (red in female) spot at front tip; pectoral fin yellowish; pelvic fin: female - transparent, with lower 2-3 rays yellow, male - yellow, with a brilliant red and orange blotch on inner rays; anal fin transparent in female, with two yellow blotches in male; tail fin with large dark blotch on lower base, male: tips and rear margin red, center rays red, red and yellow bar across top lobe, margin of lower lobe yellow, female: similar to male, but lower lobe without red rear margin and with 2 yellow marks.
Reaches 31 cm.
Habitat: Lives on sand and mud bottoms.
Depth: 82-513 m.
Known from southern Baja and the SW Gulf of California to Peru.
Note: The southern population around Cocos Is, the Galapagos and mainland Colombia to Peru is a separate, undescribed species.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 31
Depth Range Min
  • 50
Depth Range Max
  • 513