Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: MICRODESMIDAE, Worm Gobies, Worm-Fishes

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

very elongate
head without cirri
D X-XXVIII, 28-66
small mouth, lower jaw heavy, protruding
pelvics I, 2-4, small, separate
A 0, 23-61



Worm-gobies have slender, very elongate bodies; small eyes on side of head; mouth opens at front or upwards, lower jaw heavy, protruding; jaw teeth in several rows, with canines; gill openings restricted to side; one, continuous, long-based dorsal fin, X-XXVIII flexible spines, 28-66 soft rays; anal fin with long base, 0, 23-61; pelvic fins minute, I, 3 rays; scales smooth to rough, embedded to overlapping to separate; no lateral line.

Microdesmids live over rubble and mud bottoms, taking refuge in burrows when danger threatens. Most species are small, usually under 15 cm TL. They feed mainly on tiny benthic crustaceans.

The family is circumtropical, with five genera with about 30 species. In our region there are 13 species three genera; all the species and one genus are endemic.