Angel Blenny

Angel Blenny, Coralliozetus angelicus

The Angel Blenny, Coralliozetus angelicus, whose common Spanish name is tubícola ángel, is a species in the Tube Blenny or Chaenopsidae Family, known collectively as trambollos tubícolas in Mexico. Globally, there are six species in the genus Coralliozetus, four of which are found in Mexican waters, all in the Pacific.

The Angel Blennies have elongated robust bodies. They have a marked dimorphism being yellowish white overall with diffused brown blotches or spots. Males have a dark brown head, a long jaw, high and spiny dorsal fins, a red mouth, red irises, and yellow eye cirri. Females have a white head with brown markings, brown bars on their chin and throat, and prominent brown marks at the base of their pectoral fins. Their head is short and blunt with a pointed snout and no spines on top. They have a simple cirrus at the nostrils; males also have long and fleshy cirri above their eyes while females have short and slender cirri above their eyes. They have one row of teeth on each side of the roof of their mouth. Their anal fin has two spines and 19 or 20 rays and their dorsal fin is notched and higher at the front with 17 to 20 spines and 10 to 12 rays. Their pectoral and pelvic fins are large.

The Angel Blennies are a coastal shallow water species found in empty barnacle shells or in the tubes of certain worms and mollusks in and around rocky reefs at depths up to 15 feet. They reach a maximum length of 3.5 cm (1.4 inches). They are highly territorial predators that are active diurnally and feed mostly on zooplankton and benthic crustaceans, including small crabs. Reproduction is oviparous with females depositing eggs in protected areas which are guarded by males until hatching. They are a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Angel Blennies have a limited distribtution in the Pacific being found only in the lower two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala; they are absent from the west coast of Baja.

The Angel Blenny cannot be easily confused with any other species due to the unique markings along the top of its back and bottom.

Due to their size, the Angel Blennies are of limited interest to most with the exception of underwater photographers.

Angel Blenny, Coralliozetus angelicus, female. Fish collected from a tidal pool at the Gordo Point Reef, 6 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, November 2007. Length: 2.5 cm (1.0 inch). Identification courtesy of Dr. Phil Hastings, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.