Culius amblyopsis Cope, 1871, Suriname.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
Reaches about 3.9 in (10 cm) total length over most of range, largest individual observed from North America about 5.5 in (14 cm). Two dorsal fins, pelvic fins separated, and rounded caudal fin. Torpedo-like body shape with flattened head. Tan to dark brown, sometimes changes to dark trunk laterally with light tan dorsum, especially in juveniles. May have rows of small dark spots on sides. Two dark streaks radiating rearward from eyes on cheeks. A large dark spot on the upper pectoral fin base and some specimens with two elongate spots extending from pectoral fin base onto pectoral fin rays. Stout spine on lower cheek faces forward.
Common from North Carolina to French Guiana, and in Cuba and Hispaniola. Less frequently known from Brazil and the Antilles.
Euryhaline (able to live in waters of a wide range of salinities); adults and juveniles inhabit continental estuaries, but are also known from fresh water in Central America and occasionally in the Antilles. Associates with floating, emergent, and marginal vegetation, such as mangroves, river cane, and water hyacinths. Pelagic marine larval stage.
A lethargic “sit-and-wait” predator. Postlarvae join other species to form large schools which periodically move into estuaries and fresh waters after a marine larval period.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Predaceous; feeds on shrimps and small fishes.
Presumably amphidromous, with adults living and reproducing in fresh water or estuaries and a marine larval period.
Considered vulnerable in North Carolina at the edge of its range, but not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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