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Sea of Cortez 810

Family Fistulariidae
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned)
Order: Syngnathiformes

Key Features:
Superficially resembling a trumpetfish, cornetfishes resemble few other fish.  Identification is based on the characteristically elongated bodies and greatly extended tubular snouts.  They may be differentiated from a trumpetfish by the presence of a long caudal filament that is lacking in the trumpetfishes.  Cornet fish are also more slender than the more stout trumpetfishes.   No members of the trumpetfish family, Aulostomidae are found in the Sea of Cortez, but have been recorded in Panama. 

Notable Species in the Sea of Cortez

Fistularia commersonii
Reef Cornetfish
Fistularia corneta
Deep-Water Cornetfish

Reef Cornetfish Fistularia commersonii in La Paz Baja Mexico

Fistularia commersonii
Reef Cornetfish

Isla Las Islotes, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Family Fistulariidae
Cornetfishes (Peces corneta)

Although there are no trumpetfishes (family Aulostomidae) in the Sea of Cortez, there are two members of the closely related cornetfishes.  Difficult to confuse with any other fishes, given their elongated bodies and long tubular snouts, the reef cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, may be found hovering over shallow and mid-water reefs.  Adept at changing its body coloration from a barred motif while at rest, to a series of stripes nearly instantaneously as they begin to move, they are excellent at creeping up on the wide variety of prey items they consume.  This may include gobies, blennies and even eels, which are slurped up into the extended snout.  This species ranges from San Carlos on the mainland and Bahia Magdelena, throughout the Gulf and is especially prevalent in La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.  Its range extends further south to Panama.  The only other species of cornetfish in the Sea of Cortez is a deep-water species that is not seen by scuba divers or snorkelers.



Updated August 28, 2009

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