Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Prognathodes carlhubbsi, Southern scythe butterflyfish, Southern scythe-marked butterflyfish

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snout stripe black
point of inverted black V reaches base of D spines
upper back and base of D greyish

Prognathodes carlhubbsi Nalbant, 1995


Southern scythe butterflyfish,     Southern scythe-marked butterflyfish


Body a strongly compressed oval disc; mouth small, at end of a short, pointed, tubular snout that is 1/3-1/2 head length; cheek bone free and smooth; teeth long and slender; dorsal fin XIII, 19-20, triangular shape, 3rd  or 4th  spine longest, with notch between spiny and soft parts; anal rays III,14-16, 2nd  anal spine very long, much longer than 3rd; rear edges of dorsal and anal fins vertical; tail edge straight to rounded; lateral line in a high arch, incomplete (ends under dorsal fin), with 37-49 scales; scales rough, covering head and body, a low scaly sheath on base of dorsal fin.

Yellow with prominent black scythe-like marking  on side, also a blackish diagonal band from snout to dorsal fin origin; most of spiny dorsal and base of soft dorsal and anal fin black; tail fin transparent with narrow black upper and lower borders; pelvics yellow, with black front spine.

Size: grows to 13 cm.

Habitat: rocky reefs.

Depth range 12-270 m.

The Galapagos Islands, Cocos, Malpelo, and the Lobos Islands off northern Peru.

Note: Very similar to P. falcifer, which is found in the northern part of our region. The color patterns of  P. falcifer and P carlhubbsi differ as follows:  1. the dark band on the snout is black in  P. carlhubbsi  and grey in  P. falcifer.2. the tip of the scythe mark  reaches the base of the dorsal fin spines in  P. carlhubbsi  but ends well below those spines in P. falcifer. 3. the upper back and base of the dorsal fin are greyish in P. carlhubbsi and yellow in P. falcifer. These differences are relatively small, hence a genetic study would be useful to resolve doubts about the specific status of P carlhubbsi.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Water column
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Rocks
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Hard corals
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Island (s) only
  • Multiple oceanic islands endemic
  • TEP oceanic island (s) endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Near threatened
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 13
Depth Range Min
  • 12
Depth Range Max
  • 270