Pacific Lined Sole

Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus

The Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus, whose common Spanish name is tepalcate, is a species in the American Sole or Achiridae Family, known collectively as lenguados suelas in Mexico. Globally, there are only eight species in the genus Achirus, five of which are found in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and three in the Pacific. All of the members of the American Sole Family are  right-eyed fish with a straight lateral line.

The Pacific Lined Soles have oval bodies with a width that is of 64 to 68% of standard length. They have a uniform gray or brownish-gray to light tan coloration. They have eight vertical dark lines across their dorsal side. These latter characteristics fade shortly after collection. Their head has a rounded snout with a small mouth and small eyes that are set close together on their right side. Their anal fin has 41 to 44 rays and is fused to their pelvic fins; their dorsal fin originates above the eyes and has 55 to 57 rays. Their lateral line is prominent and straight running from the head to the caudal fin. Their body is covered with rough scales; the scales on their dorsal side have black hair-like filaments.

The Pacific Lined Soles are found over and within soft bottoms in bays, estuaries, and adjacent freshwater streams at depths up to 175 feet. They reach a maximum length of 20 cm (7.9 inches). Although widespread they are uncommon and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Pacific Lined Sole are found in all waters of the Pacific.

The Pacific Lined Sole is very similar to, and is easily confused with, the Brown Sole, Achirus klunzingeri (body width 59 – 63% of standard length; found from Acapulco south along the coast of the mainland to Guatemala).

The Pacific Lined Soles are small and seldom seen by humans, thus of limited interest to most.

Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus, juvenile. Fish caught in a seine net from within the estuary of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, August 2017. Length: 5.1 cm (2.0 inches).

Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus.  Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, January 2015. Length: 12 cm (4.7 inches). Photo and identification courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora.

Pacific Lined Sole (2)Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, January 2015. Length: 18 cm (7.1 inches). Photo and identification courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora.

Pacific Lined Sole, Achirus mazatlanus. Fish caught in a cast net from within the estuary of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur, August 2017. Length: 18 cm (7.1 inches).