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Species: Dactyloscopus heraldi, Baja sand-stargazer

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eyes: stalked, no papillae
mouth unpigmented
rear body: no chevrons
C rays unbranched
lip flaps: top ~12, bottom ~17
rear nostril near front nostril
no scales over LL arch
D ~26; A ~32
notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus heraldi Dawson, 1975 Dawson, 1975

Baja sand-stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes protrusible, on short stalks, without papillae; tubular nostrils, rear nostril opens near base of front nostril; both lips with skin flaps (branched in adult) 12 (11-14), moderately branched flaps on top lip, 16.5 (14-20) on lower lip; operculum with 13 (7-18) skin flaps; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front IV (III-V) spines separate from fin and without membranes, XIV (XII-XV), 26 (24-27); anal II, 32 (29-33); pectoral usually 13 rays; notch under end of tail base; tail fin long, rays unbranched; lateral line scales 46 (44-47); lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; no scales above front curved part of lateral line in ~80% of individuals, the rest with a row over rear of that part of lateral line.

Nape, head & chin pale or irregularly mottled; nape without a broad T-shaped pale blotch; dorsal, anal and tail pale to shaded with brown; inside mouth unpigmented; body pale; 8-11 thin, very short dark saddles across top of body & tail base; sides occasionally with indistinct stripes under dorsal fin, along midline and above anal fin, without dark chevrons on rear 1/3 of body; usually a dark spot just above center of end of tail base.

Size: 6 cm.

Habitat: tide pools and coastal sandy areas.

Depth: 0-8 m.

Both sides of the southern Baja California.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Beach
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Cortez province endemic
  • Continent
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 8