Graceful Mojarra

Graceful Mojarra, Eucinostomus gracilis

The Graceful Mojarra, Eucinostomus gracilis, whose common Spanish name is mojarra charrita, is a species in the Mojarra or Gerreidae Family, known as collectively mojarras in Mexico. Globally, there are eleven species in the genus Eucinostomus, all eleven of which are found in Mexican waters, seven in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific.

The Graceful Mojarras have very slender bodies that have depths that are 25 to 29% of standard length, a key to identification. They are silver in color and without distinguishing marks. Their head has a straight upper profile and a concave lower profile, their mouth is highly extensible, pointing downward when protruded, and their snout is pointed. They have smooth gill covers. Their anal fin has 3 spines and 7 rays with the second spine being shorter than the third spine and only slightly more robust, their caudal fin is deeply forked, their dorsal fin has 9 spines and 10 rays and is elevated at the front, their pectoral fins are pointed and do not reach the anal fin origin, and their pelvic fins are short. Their lateral line is straight. Their head and body are covered with rough scales.

The Graceful Mojarras reside in shallow coastal areas including mangrove estuaries and fresh water lagoons at depths up to 365 feet. They reach a maximum length of 24 cm (9.4 inches). They are a poorly studied species and very limited information is available about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Graceful Mojarra are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.

The Graceful Mojarra can be confused with the Darkspot Mojarra, Eucinostomus entomelas (black gill chamber; second anal spine being the longest; dorsal fin with narrow black margin; long pectoral fins), the Golden Mojarra, Diapterus aureolus (separated dorsal fins with the first having a black tip), and the Pacific Spotfin Mojarra, Eucinostomus dowii (second anal spine being the strongest).

The Graceful Mojarra is too small and too rare to be of interest to most.

Graceful Mojarra, Eucinostomus gracilis. Fish caught from coastal waters off  Point Palmilla, Baja California Sur, January 2013. Length: 15.5 cm (6.1 inches).