Morphology Data of Pteragogus variabilis
Identification keys
Main Ref. Randall, J.E., 2013
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral short and / or deep
Cross section compressed
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

This species is distinguished by the following characters: D XI,9; A III,9; pectoral rays 13-14 (usually 13), the rays flattened at tips but not branched; complete lateral line, angling sharply downward below soft portion of anal fin to straight peduncular part; pored scales 24 (plus 2 on base of caudal fin, the last greatly enlarged); body moderately deep, 2.7-3.05 depth in SL; head length 2.55-2.6 in SL; dorsal profile of head straight; straight part of posterior margin of preopercle serrate, serrae varying from 13 on 3.4-cm paratype to 25 on 5.8-cm paratype; absence of long filaments extending from tips of dorsal spines; rounded caudal fin and moderately long 3.1-3.15 in SL; first soft ray of pelvic fins moderately long, reaching between origin of anal fin and origin of soft portion of anal fin, 3.2-4.1 in SL. Colour in life very variable, with the ground color being brown, sometimes suffused with orange, red, or yellow; or greenish gray, orange-yellow, or red; all sharing the following features: opercle of darker color, often more red, orange, or yellow than rest of head, and containing an oblique elliptical ocellus; four white spots along anterior lateral line, the fourth anteriorly on caudal peduncle, with irregular white spots and flecks extending dorsally from first three spots into dorsal fin, and ventrally from all four spots; a broad white posterior border on preopercle, with an adjacent white triangular band on opercle; white dots extending ventrally and posteroventrally from orbit; median and pelvic fins colored much like adjacent body, but with more small white blotches and dots; dorsal fin with a blackish spot on first membrane and usually a smaller spot on second membrane; about posterior three-fourths of soft portion of fin transparent, except basally (the transparent zone may be crossed by brown lines); caudal fin with a series of white or transparent spots along dorsal margin and smaller spots along ventral margin; color in alcohol pale brownish yellow, an oblique elliptical ocellus about twice pupil diameter in length on opercle (often damaged, sometimes effaced), a short dark brown dash on side of snout before middle of eye, dark dots sometimes faintly visible on nape, fins translucent pale yellowish with the dorsal having a blackish spot on first membrane and usually a second smaller spot on second membrane, a small dark brown spot at rear base of dorsal fin; some specimens, including holotype, may be entirely pale yellowish with no dark markings (Ref. 93522).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Pteragogus variabilis

Lateral Lines 1 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales 24 - 24
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line 2 - 2
Scale rows below lateral line 5 - 5
Scales around caudal peduncle 16 - 16
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb
total 13 - 15
total 24 - 24


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 11 - 11
Soft-rays total 9 - 9
Adipose fin

Caudal fin


Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 9
Soft-rays total 9 - 9

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  
Soft-rays   13 - 14
Pelvics Attributes  
Spines     1
Soft-rays   5 - 5
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Busson, Frédéric
Modified by Capuli, Estelita Emily
Comments & Corrections
Sign our Guest Book
Back to Search
cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17