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Guide to Sea of Cortez Fish Species

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Guide to travel, activities, organisms, and ecology of the Sea of Cortez

Bay Blenny
Hypsoblennius gentilis

 

 

Description and Size
Adult bay blennies are typically 2.5-3.5 inches (63-89mm) in the Sea of Cortez, although the same species may reach nearly 6 inches (150mm) in California waters.  The bay blenny is a mottled brown or olive in coloration, with a single dorsal fin, a steep forehead, and broad lips which are often a shade of pink or orange.  

Identifying Features
The bay blenny may be differentiated from other Sea of Cortez blennies by the presence of 6 white or crème colored spots along the ventral half of the body, along the side behind the belly.  The cirri on bay blennies are un-branched, unlike those of H. jenkinsi, and the throat of the bay blenny is often red, making for easy identification.  The barbnaclebill blenny, Hypsoblennius brevipinnis, has unbranched cirri like the bay blenny, but these have shorter cirri at the base, which are absent in the bay blenny.  

Range 
Throughout the Sea of Cortez to Monterey California on the Pacific coast.

Habitat
The bay blenny is found in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones along rocky shores. 

Behavior and Ecology
Highly territorial, these solitary blennies will bite the hands of divers.  Males perform a stomping motion combined with a series of rapid head shakes to attract females into their dens.  Eggs are deposited on rocks and are tended by the male.  Females lack the pronounced cirri of males and also have a metallic blue-spot near the anterior end of the dorsal membranes. 
 

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Updated August 28, 2009

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