Identification: Dorsal fin XI-XII (12-13). Anal fin II (13-14). Numerous orange or brick-colored spots (smaller than the eye) cover most of the head, pectoral-fin base and anterior body over a bright blue background. The spots often merge on the top of the head to form a reticulated pattern (Smith-Vaniz 1980; Hoese and Moore 1998).
Smith-Vaniz (1980) revised the western Atlantic Hypsoblennius. A key to the Blenniidae of the western central Atlantic is given in Williams (2002); this key was modified for the Gulf of Mexico by McEachran and Fechhelm (2005). Gulf species can also be keyed with Hoese and Moore (1998). Meristics for adults and larvae were given by Ditty et al. (2005). Larvae of five common Gulf of Mexico species are described and illustrated in Ditty et al. (2005).
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The species lives in empty barnacle tests of the Mediterranean barnacle (Megabalanus antillensis [= Balanus tintinnabulum]) on pilings and oil platforms. It is usually recorded from a depths of less than 4.5 m, but can rarely range to 18 m (Topolski and Szedlmayer 2004). Tessellated blennies are found in abundance where the hydroid Cnidoscyphus marginatus is abundant (Smith-Vaniz 1980). Males brood egg masses inside the barnacles (Smith-Vaniz 1980).
Work by Rauch (2000, 2003) has indicated that blenniid assemblages on petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are highly structured (through competition) and that little change occurs over time. Additionally, blenniid assemblages appear to remain relatively constant, even after the passage of a hurricane over the platforms (Rauch 2000, 2003).
References: (click for full references)
Dennis, G. D., III and T. J. Bright. 1988. New records of fishes in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, with notes on some rare species. Northeast Gulf Science 10: 1-18.
Ditty, J. G., R. F. Shaw and L. A. Fuiman. 2005. Larval development of five species of blenny (Teleostei: Blenniidae) from the western central North Atlantic, with a synopsis of blennioid family characters. Journal of Fish Biology 66: 1261-1284.
Hoese, H. D. and R. H. Moore. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas, Louisiana, and Adjacent Waters. 2nd Edition. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, TX.
McEachran, J. D. and J. D. Fechhelm. 2005. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 2: Scorpaeniformes to Tetraodontiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.
Rauch, T. J. 2000. Blennies on offshore petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico: Factors influencing assemblage structure. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS. 101 pp.
Rauch, T. J. 2003. Equilibrial blenniid assemblages on offshore petroleum platforms. Environmental Biology of Fishes 68: 301-305.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). 2008. Exotic species sighting programs and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.
Smith-Vaniz, W. F. 1980. Revision of Western Atlantic species of the Blenniid fish genus Hypsoblennius. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia 132: 285-305.
Topolski, M. F. and S. T. Szedlmayer. 2004. Vertical distribution, size structure, and habitat associations of four Blenniidae species on gas platforms in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Biology of Fishes 70: 193-201.
Williams, J. T. 2002. Blenniidae. Pages 1768 – 1772 in: Carpenter, Kent E., (Ed.). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Volume 3. Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, Rome.
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.