Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Ophidion iris, Brighteye cusk-eel, Iris cusk-eel, Rainbow cusk-eel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

operculum - no metallic spot
D & A: front margins dark
lower gill rakers: 4-5 long
pelvics = 1.2-1.8x pectoral

Ophidion iris Breder, 1936

Brighteye cusk-eel, Iris cusk-eel, Rainbow cusk-eel

Elongate, compressed; head compressed; snout with small, blunt projection; eye ~ 27% of head length; mouth slightly oblique, top jaw reaches to rear of eye; operculum with a strong, skin covered spine at its upper corner; jaw teeth sharp, slightly curved back, in multiple rows; 6-7 gill rakers, lower 4-5 long; lateral line high, almost to end of tail; dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail; dorsal origin over rear ½ of pectoral; dorsal 121-148 rays; anal 98-122 rays; tail fin short; anal origin < 1 head-length behind dorsal origin; pectoral reaches ~ ½ way to anal, 22-24 rays; pelvic under eye, 2 filaments, ~ 63% of head length, 1.2-1.8x length of pectoral; scales not overlapping and not in regular series, at right angles, head scaleless, body entirely covered with small elongate scales, in clusters of ~ 3-4 or more.

Uniform pale brown to pinkish brown, paler on abdomen and chest; front 2/3 of dorsal and anal fins with narrow dark margins; tail may be dark; upper ½ of iris may be dark; no metallic spot on operculum; foregut black.

Size: 26 cm.

Habitat: sandy bays.

Depth: 5-85 m.

The tip of Baja and the lower ¾ of the Gulf of California.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Cortez + Mexican provinces endemic
  • Continent
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 26
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 85