Family: CHAENOPSIDAE, Signal-Blennies, Barnacle-Blennies, Pike-Blennies, Worm-Blennies, Tube-Blennies
SIGNAL-BLENNIES, BARNACLE-BLENNIES, PIKE-BLENNIES, WORM-BLENNIES, TUBE-BLENNIES
Tube-blennies are small fishes (up to ~ 12 cm) characterized by elongate bodies; head often spiny or rough, with cirri on nostrils, eyes, and (sometimes) nape; gill membranes continuous under throat; each jaw with canines or incisors at front; teeth on center and, often, sides of roof of mouth; dorsal fin continuous, with flexible spines, XVII-XXVIII,10-38 rays, usually more spines than rays; dorsal and anal fins with long bases; anal fin with II flexible spines; pelvics I (internal), 2-3, inserted before pectoral base; all fin rays unbranched; no scales (smooth scales in one Stathmonotus species); no lateral line.
Tube blennies common name reflects the fact that most live in unoccupied barnacle shells or worm and mollusk tubes. Most species are inhabitants of rocky reefs or coral areas, although species of Chaenopsis and Emblemaria live on rubble or sandy bottoms. Tube blennies eat zooplankton including copepods, isopods, and amphipods, as well as barnacle appendages. Many are highly sexually dimorphic: males tend to be much more brightly colored and often have better developed eye cirri, longer jaws, and higher dorsal fins.
Tube blennies are one of the few families that are confined to the tropical and subtropical Americas. The family contains 13 genera and approximately 82 species; 33 species (all endemics) and 10 genera (three endemics) are known from the tropical eastern Pacific.