Hairy Blenny

Hairy Blenny, Labrisomus nuchipinnis

The Hairy Blenny, Labrisomus nuchipinnis, whose common Spanish name is trambollo peludo, is a species in the Labrisomid Blenny or Labrisomidae Family, known collectively as trambollos in Mexico. Globally, there are twenty-seven species in the genus Labrisomus, of which thirteen are found in Mexican waters, nine in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific.

The Hairy Blennies have shortened elongated bodies with a uniform depth throughout that tapers gradually at the rear into the tail. The sexes have different and highly variable colorations with various shades of brown with contrasting brown bars that extend onto the dorsal fin without reaching the margin. Males vary from yellow to green to almost black with a red belly, chin, head, and fins. Their head is covered with small pale spots in a mesh of dark lines; they have a well-developed ocellus spot on their gill cover and a dark blotch at the front of their dorsal fin, which is absent in juveniles. Their head is broad with a blunt snout, large eyes, a branched cirrus over each eye, and two or more heavily branched cirri on each side of the nape. Their mouth is large, opens at the front, and is slightly oblique; it is equipped with one row of small teeth on the upper and lower jaws. Their anal fin has two spines and 18 rays; their caudal fin is square; their dorsal fin has 17 to 20 spines and 10 to 13 rays with a deep notch in between; and their pelvic fins are inserted before the pectoral fins. They have 10 to 13 gill rakers. They are covered with small smooth scales.

The Hairy Blennies are a shallow water coastal species found within patch reefs, coral formations, and coral rubble at depths up to 65 feet. They reach a maximum length of 22.0 cm (8.7 inches). They are diurnal highly territorial predators that feed mostly on benthic crustaceans including small crabs. Reproduction is oviparous with females depositing eggs in protected areas.  Very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the The Hairy Blenny are found in all waters of the Atlantic.

The Hairy Blenny can be easily confused with a series of Blennies including the Downy Blenny, Gobioclinus kalisherae (long first dorsal spine), the Longfin Blenny, Gobioclinus haitiensis (long first dorsal spine), the Mimic Blenny, Gobioclinus guppyi (five dark bars on sides extending into anal and dorsal fins), the Palehead Blenny, Gobioclinus gobio (no ocellus spot on gill cover), the Puffcheek Blenny, Gobioclinus bucciferus (no ocellus spot on gill cover) and the Whitecheek Blenny, Labrisomus albigenys (wide white bar with black margins under eye).

Due to their small size, the Hairy Blennies are of limited interest to most.

Hairy Blenny, Labrisomus nuchipinnis. Fish caught from coastal waters off Key West, Florida, August 2014. Length: 14.0 cm (5.5 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Dean Kimberly, Atlanta, GA.