Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Dactyloscopidae
Etymology: Gillellus: Theodore Nicolas Gill (1837-1914) researcher of abyssal fishes and systematics (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; demersal. Tropical; - 9°N
Western Atlantic: southeastern Florida, USA and Bahamas to Panama.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 5.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 11 - 15;
spines: 2. Common amongst Dactyloscopidae: Small, elongate fishes. Head usually broad and deep, body tapering and compressed behind. Eyes on top of head, often protrusible; mouth moderate to large, oblique to vertical; jaw teeth minute, in 2 or more series; no teeth on roof of mouth (vomer and palatines). Opercular opening large, gill membrane free from isthmus; opercles membranous, large, usually overlapping on underside of head, typically fringed above with 2 to 24 fleshy fimbriae. Dorsal fin continuous, with an isolated or semi-isolated anterior finlet, or with 1 to 5 separate anterior rays; dorsal-fin spines 7 to 23; anal-fin spines 2; dorsal and anal fins free or united to caudal fin by fragile membranes; pectoral fins broad-based, usually enlarged in mature males; caudal-fin rays simple or branched; pelvic fins under throat (insertion anterior to pectoral-fin base), with 1 spine and 3 thickened segmented rays; all other rays simple. Head and venter naked, body elsewhere with large cycloid scales (smooth to touch); lateral line high anteriorly, deflecting ventrally behind pectoral fin to continue along middle of side to caudal-fin base where terminal lateral-line scale bears ventrally directed canal. Body coloration, variably pale to strongly pigmented with white, brown, or reddish; some forms with characteristic saddle-like bars crossing back; others plain, mottled, or with indications of lateral stripes. Species distinguished by: dorsal-fin origin on nape; with an isolated or semi-isolated anterior finlet. First preopercular canal not branched, with a single distal pore. Segmented caudal-fin rays usually 10. Arched lateral-line scales 22 to 33. Upper lip without fimbriae (Ref.52855).
Occurs in sand around rocks and patch reefs (Ref. 5521). Burrows in soft sandy bottom, where it waits for prey, with only the eyes, nose and mouth protruding.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Dawson, C.E., 1982. Atlantic sand stargazers (Pisces: Dactyloscopidae), with description of one new genus and seven new species. Bull. Mar. Sci. 32(1):14-85. (Ref. 27742)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 26.4 - 28.2, mean 27.4 (based on 478 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5010 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00389 (0.00180 - 0.00842), b=3.12 (2.94 - 3.30), in cm Total Length, based on all LWR estimates for this body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.9 ±0.6 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .