Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 50 m (Ref. 3790). Subtropical; 52°N - 34°S, 98°W - 34°W
Western Atlantic: Newfoundland (Canada), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Argentina, including the Caribbean (Ref. 3790). Eastern Atlantic.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 20.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251); common length : 10.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3790)
soft rays: 28 - 36. Snout prominently projecting but not very elongate; first dorsal spine originating above posterior part of eye; adult males with two pairs of enlarged recurved spines on each side of caudal peduncle; spines of females only slightly larger than other scale spinules of caudal peduncle (Ref. 13442).
Occurs in shallow water down to 50 m depth, over sandy and rocky bottoms, but more commonly in grass beds (Ref. 3790). Often seen moving head down among seagrass blades (Ref. 9710). The young are often associated with floating Sargassum (Ref. 3720). Feeds on plants and algae, and also on small crustaceans (Ref. 3720). Rarely consumed (Ref. 3790).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Distinct pairing (Ref. 205).
Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray, 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30303)
Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 22.7 - 28, mean 25.6 °C (based on 440 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01413 (0.00923 - 0.02162), b=2.86 (2.73 - 2.99), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 2.7 ±0.2 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (26 of 100) .