Darkedge Midshipman, Porichthys analis
The Darkedge Midshipman, Porichthys analis, whose common Spanish name is sapo de luto, is a species in the Toadfish or Batrachoididae Family, known collectively as peces sapo in Mexico. Gobally, there are fourteen species in the genus Porichthys, seven of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and six in the Pacific.
The Darkedge Midshipmen have elongated bodies with an oval cross-section. They are brown in color with a golden sheen and have five to seven dark saddles on their back. Their anal and caudal fins are white with dark margins and their dorsal fin is white with six or seven dark blotches along the outer margin. They have a large head with eyes on top, canine teeth, and a prominent non-venomous spine on their gill cover. They have two stout dorsal spines followed by a separate second dorsal fin with 34 to 41 rays and a long base. Their anal fin has no spines and 33 to 39 rays. They have four conspicuous rows of light organs along their lateral lines. The lower line on their flank has approximately 16 pores behind the end of the light-organ row (a key to identification). They have 11 to 13 lower gill rakers and are scaleless.
The Darkedge Midshipman are bottom dwellers found over sandy and muddy bottoms at depths up to 700 feet. They reach a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches) and consume crabs, echinoderms, fish, mollusks, and shrimp. The Darkedge Midshipman are uncommon, seldom seen by humans and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Darkedge Midshipman are found from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.
The Darkedge Midshipman can be easily confused with the Miminic Midshipman, Porichthys mimeticus (29 to 32 anal rays; 10 to 12 gill rakers).
The Darkedge Midshipman is small, seldom seen by humans, and is of limited interest to most.
Darkedge Midshipman, Porichthys analis. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, January 2008. Length: 10.0 cm (3.9 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA. The pictured fish has 34 anal rays, 35 dorsal rays and 12 pores.