Blenny of some sort?

Images: 
Unknown Blenny1 Cropped.JPG
Unknown Blenny2 Cropped.JPG

This little one was hiding under an old conch shell in a sandy area with occasional coral heads at Pelican Island, BVI on March 12, 2008.  Was seen at 37 ft around 9:45 am.  it's about 1 3/4" long; when it decided it didn't like our company any more, it started walking away on it's pectoral fins, then finally darted away.  Haven't been able to identify it. 

Blenny of some sort

The key to identification is in the top picture.  You can see the cirri just above the eye are flat and perpindicular to the body length. Further back on the head near where the dorsal fin starts you can see another pair of flattened perpindicular to body length cirri.  These fish are rarely seen, but not necessarily rare in occurence.  They are masters of camoflouge and the color variations are quite wide ranging it is a Banded Blenny-Paraclinus fasciatus.  Congratulations it is only listed in the database about twenty times.  Not sure how to post pictures here so if you send me your email address at Pipehorse@aol.com I will send you other pictures of this species.

 

Best Fishes

Peter Leahy

another possibility

After looking at this blenny and the comments, Susan sent me another photo that showed the nuchal cirrus.  She also showed me photos that Peter had of other blennies that were the banded blenny.   My first search of books had me in total agreement with it being a banded blenny.   However, when I began searching all my books for the banded blenny, I came across another possibility.  Consider:

Blackfin Blenny  Paraclinus nigripinnis - similar to the banded blenny but pale tab on the nape.  Listed the same range and habitat. Body markings the same.

Both species have the tabs on the nape flattened and with three points.   Susan's blenny has pale tabs that still seem to have the three points.  My books were very certain on the fact that the banded blenny has black nuchal tabs.  All of Peter's photos showed these black or very dark.

That leaves me  a little unsure.  It reminds me of the years we have been identifying bridled gobies and then found out that there is another species, the sand goby that we have all seen but didn't look close enough to see the difference.  I love the way this pushes us all to study deeper

Labrisomus bucciferus, puffcheek blenny

These are not easy, but the giant eye and fat head make it a Labrisomus. The really common shallow water under-a-rock species in the BVI are L. bucciferus, the puffcheek blenny.

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