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Sea of Cortez 810

Family Labrisomidae
Labrisomid blennies
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned)
Order: Perciformes

Key Features:
Labrisomid blennies are small benthic fishes with cryptic coloration.  Like other blennies, the labrisomids have a continuous dorsal fin and cirri over the eyes.  They often resemble the combtooth and triplefin blennies, but may be identified by the combined presence of conical teeth and cycloid scales. 

Notable Species in the Sea of Cortez

Malacoctenus gigas
Sonora Blenny
Malacoctenus hubbsi
Redside Blenny
Malacoctenus tetranemus
Throat Spotted Blenny
Malacoctenus margaritae
Margarita Blenny
Paraclinus sini
Flapscale Blenny
Paraclinus mexicanus
Mexican Blenny
Labrisomus xanti
Largemouth Blenny
Exerpes asper
Sargassum Blenny
Xenomedea rhodopyga
Redrump Blenny

redside blenny malacoctenus hubbsi in puerto penasco, sonora mexico

Malacoctenus hubbsi
Redside Blenny

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San Carlos Scuba Diving

Family Labrisomidae
Labrisomid blennies (Trambollos)

Family Labrisomidae

Labrisomids are among the most common and speciose groups of fishes in the Sea of Cortez.  With the exception of the secretive sargassum blenny, Exerpes asper, all are cryptically colored bottom dwellers that are typically small in size, the largest reaching approximately seven inches in length. 

It is often difficult at first glance to differentiate between the combtooth blennies, the labrisomid blennies and the triplefin blennies.  The labrisomid blennies may be differentiated from the combtooth blennies by examining the jaw teeth, which in labrisomids are conical, and by looking at the scale structure, which is significantly better developed in the labrisomids.  Labrisomid blennies may be differentiated from triplefin blennies by their scales, which in the triplefins are ctenoid whereas in the labrisomids they are cycloid.  Worldwide there are estimated to be one hundred species in fifteen genera.  Within the Gulf of California there are twenty-three species in eight genera. 

Throughout the Gulf one of the most abundant species of labrisomids is the flapscale blenny, Paraclinus sini.  It is the most abundant tidepool blenny in Puerto Pensasco and ranges as far north as Punta Borrascoco and as far south as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo.  It is most often found hiding amongst the sargassum . 

Other species in the region include the Sonora blenny, Malacoctenus gigas, and the redside blenny, Malacoctenus hubbsi.  Another interesting member of this group is the sargassum blenny, Exerpes asper.  The sargassum blenny is quite common throughout the northern and central Gulf of California but is rarely observed due to its exquisite camouflage.  They are found wherever sargassum or eelgrass is found.  They depend so heavily on their camouflage for survival that when threatened they curl their tails towards their body and hide rather than flee. 


Updated August 28, 2009

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