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:
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.
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