Dactyloscopus boehlkei/ tridigitatus
| Ecological Descriptors
||Cru, Mol, Wor,
Extremely difficult to distinguish these two species visually.
Both: Body compressed, tapering to tail; head large, flattened above, rounded and narrow at front; mouth upturned, with a protruding lower jaw, top jaw reaching past eve; rear nostril a single pore next to base. Eyes on top of head with protrusible stalks. Mouth with fleshy protrusions.
Boehlke's Sand Stargazer (D. boehlkei): Pale tan. with faint traces of darker color on top of back, without prominent markings. Eyes distinctly stalked, but stalks short (<eye diameter), eye with a spot or skin protrusion at tip
Sand Stargazer (D. tridigitatus) Tan to pale, body blotched and mottled with tan and white marks: salmon streaks behind eye. salmon on top of head and chin, and along midline of bodv: body sometimes with 11-14 brown bars between nape and tail base. Pectoral fin white. Tail may have several faint brown bars. Eyes with long, slender stalks.
Considered to be a lie-and-wait predator, consuming a variety of prey items, including crustaceans, annelids, isopods, amphipods, polychaetes, mollusks, teleosts, insects, and eggs. It burrows in soft sandy substrata, where it waits for prey with only the eyes, nose, and mouth protruding. It is almost always found shallower than 1.5m (5ft) but may be found to 15m (45ft).
Males of this species are reproductively active for most of the year, while females have a more restricted reproductive period that is usually concentrated in the rainy season. Male individuals carry two masses of incubating eggs under their pectoral fins in order to aid in egg defense. Female fecundity is positively correlated with total length, however the same is not true for egg clump fecundity for males. It is thought that this species exhibits a polygamous mating system like many other species in the suborder Blennioidei.