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| Common names: tonguefish (English), lengua (Espanol), lengüeta (Espanol) |
Symphurus melasmatotheca Munroe & Nizinski, 1990
Black-stripe tonguefish, Dark-belly tonguefish
Body highly compressed, elongate, oval, tapers to pointed tail; small close-set eyes on left side, pupils with well developed covers; snout rounded; mouth small, curved, strongly so on blind side; margin of preoperculum concealed by skin and scales; dorsal origin ~ above upper eye; dorsal rays 90-98; anal rays 74-80; dorsal and anal fins confluent with the pointed tail fin; only left pelvic fin present, 4 rays, on body midline, joined to anal fin by delicate membrane; pectoral fins absent, represented by a fine membrane; tail with 11 rays; no lateral line; scales rough, on both sides of body; scales in longitudinal series 82-98.
Body pale to dark brown, rear ¼ darker; head and body with 5-11 indistinct, incomplete dark bars, strongest at edges of body; eye-side lips spotted, with dark spot in angle of jaws; inner ½ of rays dark on front 2/3 of dorsal and anal, rear 1/3 of both fins abruptly dark, or with a double, alternating series of dark and clear blotches over sections of 2-3 fin rays; tail with 1-3 dark spots from base outwards; lower operculum on eye-side with dark blotch; black gut lining usually not visible behind operculum.
Size: 15 cm.
Habitat: sand and mud bottoms.
Depth: 15-110 m.
SE Gulf of California to northern Peru