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Species: Dactyloscopus fallax, False whitesaddle stargazer

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes stalked, no papillae
mouth unpigmented
T bar on head; white saddles atop body
C: rays unbranched
lip flaps branched: 11 top, 16 bottom
no scales over front LL, 1 row over arch
D ~XII, 25: A ~29
notch under tail base

Dactyloscopus fallax

False whitesaddle stargazer

Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; eyes protrusible, on stalks, without papillae; both lips with skin flaps (usually branched), 11 (10-13) above, 16 (14-21) below; edge of operculum with 12 (7-17) skin flaps; tubular nostrils; rear nostril near base of front nostril; dorsal fin origin on nape, before level of upper corner of operculum, front III-IV spines separate from fin and without membranes, XII (XI-XIII), 25 (23-27); anal II, 29 (28-32); pectoral usually 13 rays; notch under end of tail base; tail fin long (~17.8% SL), rays unbranched; lateral line continuous, bends down under last dorsal spine; scales smooth, head and belly scaleless; lateral line scales 43 (41-44); no scales above upper front part of lateral line, usually a single row above arch of that line.

Upper head pale brown, a broad white T shape blotch across top of rear part of head with forward extension to nearly between eyes; an oblique double bar (front bar dark, rear bar white) down and back from eye; usually a white blotch on upper rear part of operculum; inside mouth unpigmented: upper back grey-brown, with a series of ~7-10 white, dark-edged saddles along midline of back, sides paler, flecked with dark marks; often 2 dark stripes along straight rear part of lateral line and above anal fin.

Size: attains 5.1 cm.

Inhabits sand bottoms, including in tide pools.

Depth: 0.2-31 m.

The southeast Gulf of Calfornia to Ecuador, and Cocos Is.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 5.1
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 31