Morphology Data of Histrio histrio
Identification keys
Main Ref. Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene, 1990
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features none
Body shape lateral short and / or deep
Cross section compressed
Dorsal head profile more or less straight
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth superior
Type of scales

Diagnosis: body short and globose; mouth large with many small, villiform teeth; skin naked, but head, body and fins covered with numerous skin flaps; very long pelvic fins (> 25% SL); unprotected illicium or lure attains less than half of second dorsal-fin spine and 4.5-9.3% of SL (Ref. 57225).

Description: characterized by having large pelvic fins; unbranched pelvic rays (Ref. 90102). Illicium much shorter than 2nd dorsal spine; esca globular with short filaments; pectoral stalk free from body for most of its length (Ref. 26938). Illicium and second dorsal-fin spine close-set, former apparently emerging from base of latter; second dorsal-fin spine narrow and slightly curved backwards, not attached to head by membrane and attaining 13.3-19.3% of standard length. Third dorsal-fin spine narrow and slightly curved backwards, attached to the head by a membrane and attaining 19.3-29.3% of SL: eye diameter 5.0-8.7% of SL (Ref. 57225). Relatively smooth skin without obvious spinules; head, body, fins and dorsal spines usually have scattered cirri and slender skin flaps (Ref. 90102).

Coloration: color variable, from more or less uniform grey to pattern of stripes and spots varying from brown to yellow; body sometimes covered with numerous small, black dots or fine white lines; pectorals nad pelvics occasionally orange-edged; skin filaments white; illicium without bands; color mottled green with numerous fleshy weed-like dermal appendages (Ref. 1602) blending with the floating Sargassum weed in which it is usually found.

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Histrio histrio

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes first fin ray transformed to 'line and (luminous) bait'
Fins number 3notched No
Finlets No. Dorsal   0 - 0
Ventral  0 - 0
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 11 - 13
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less truncate; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total 6 - 13

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   9 - 11
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    thoracic  behind origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Capuli, Estelita Emily
Modified by Geelhand, Dimitri
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cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17