Hi there, I need help with identifying a Blenny observed on a dock piling in Belize. Cheers, Frederica
Looks like you've found a Molly Miller, Scartella cristata.
Great, thank you for the fast reply! Could you tell me which characteristics tell you it's a Molly Miller? I considered MM for the head shape and cirri but I was not sure. Seems like the striped/dotted pattern can vary greatly. Frederica
Yes, although the color phase you photographed is a common one in Millers, color patterns are not a good characteristic to base your identification on. The easiest way to identify a Molly Miller is by the mohawk-like row of cirri running down the center of their nape. See pictures:
Hey Louis - Thanks for posting a link to one of my photos! I just saw this.
The first photo shows cirri on each side of the head, no mohawk. Second, molly millers look longer and sleeker, this one is wide in front. Third, reticulations on the snout are not typical of molly millers. Fourth, wooden pilings in Belize are a good habitat for the orangespotted blenny, Hypleurochilus springeri.
There is also Hypleurochilus pseudoaequipinnis, which can look quite similar, but I favor the orangespotted.
Hi, I added 2 images of another individual that I had found close by. Still wondering if those are Molly Millers or Orangespotted Blennies, insight anyone? Thank you, Frederica
remember, molly millers have a mohawk- if there are cirri on each side over the eye, it is other blennies. The most common is the seaweed blenny- which is a longer fish than the set of orangespotted blennies and relatives. Not always easy to tell without a good view of the head!
I agree the fish in question doesn't have the right markings for an Orangespotted Blenny. There isn't any small orange spots. The absence of the mohawk cirri counts out Molly Miller. I agree with the ID as a Seaweed Blenny, which has many color and pattern variations. One of them is like the fish in these pictures is displaying. Molly Millers are also quite large (3-4 inches) while the Orangespotted is smaller at 2 inches max.
The Seaweed Blenny is often mistaken for Molly Miller. They are related.
Just a snorkeler- Barb
OK, the last two may not be the same fish as the first few. The last two look more like Hypleurochilus- i.e. orangespotted (H. springeri) and oyster blenny (H. pseudoaequipinnis). The latter is a bad name, since they are all over the Caribbean and not anywhere near an oyster. The two are closely related, but the more orangey and the more the last two bars look darker (like photo #4), the more likely an orangespotted. They are not always orange spotted!
REEF Headquarters | P.O. Box 370246 | 98300 Overseas Hwy | Key Largo, FL 33037 | USA Phone: 305-852-0030 | Fax: 305-852-0301 | email: email@example.com