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Species: Lepophidium pardale, Leopard cusk-eel

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body: black bars & spots
D edge: 10-11 black blotches

Lepophidium pardale (Gilbert, 1890)

Leopard cusk-eel

Elongate, eel-like; head low, compressed; tail compressed, tapering to a point; snout spine strong, reaching tip of upper jaw; short head, small mouth; eye relatively large, diameter ~ 27% of head length; upper jaw ends at rear edge of eye; teeth on jaws small, simple, in bands; no tooth patch at base of gill arches; gill rakers: 3 (2-3) rudiments above, 4-5 (4-7) developed rakers below + 1-3 (0-4) rudiments, total 9 (8-12); dorsal and anal fins low, confluent with tail; dorsal fin origin well before middle of pectoral fin;  dorsal 128-133 (125-137) rays; anal fin 108-111 (106-116) rays;  pectoral fin short , reaching less than ½ way to anal fin, 22-23 (21-24);  each pelvic a pair of small threads inserted under eye; scales round, small, in regular rows, on head extending to between or before eyes, on cheeks and opercle; ~ 228 lateral scales.

Body light olive; a series of 8 black bars along upper half of back, alternating with smaller black spots along top of back; a series of eye-sized dark spots along mid-side; sides and lower parts of head and body speckled with black; dorsal pale, with 10-11 elongate black blotches along its margin; tail dusky at base; anal fin margin black; inside mouth & gill chamber pale, oesophagus black.

Size: 25.5 cm.

Habitat: demersal on sandy and muddy bottoms.

Depth: 6-100 m.

Southern Baja and the Gulf of California to Peru; Cocos & the Galapagos.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Mud
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • 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)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25.5
Depth Range Min
  • 6
Depth Range Max
  • 100