Panamic Sand Lance, Ammodytoides gilli
The Panamic Sand Lance, Ammodytoides gilli, whose common Spanish name is peon panámico, is a species in the Sand Lance or Ammodytidae Family, known collectively as peones in Mexico. Globally, there are twenty-three species placed in seven genera in the Ammodytidae Family with only one species, the fish described herein, in the genus Ammodytoides.
The Panamic Sand Lances have elongated compressed bodies that taper at both ends and have a maximum depth that is 9.5 to 11.2% of standard length. Their body is translucent white with transparent fins and four small, elongated, black spots along the outer margin of the front half of their dorsal fin. Their head has a long pointed snout, large eyes, and a small oblique mouth that opens in the front with a protractible top jaw and a projecting lower jaw. Their anal fin has a short base with 14 or 15 rays and their caudal is forked. They have one low dorsal fin with a long base and 46 to 47 rays, and no pelvic fins. Their lateral line is high on the sides and they are covered with small smooth scales.
The Panamic Sand Lances are a demersal species found in large schools over and within sandy bottoms near shallow rocky reefs at depths up to 80 feet. They reach a maximum length of 13.5 cm (5.3 inches). They are preyed upon by various jacks, tunas, and sea birds. They are very abundant but seldom seen by humans and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Panamic Sand Lances are found around the tip of the Baja and from Puerto Vallarta south along the coast of the mainland to Guatemala.
The Panamic Sand Lance cannot easily be confused with any other species due to its unique shape and coloration.
The Panamic Sand Lances are abundant but seldom seen by humans and of limited interest to most. From a conservation perspective, they are considered of Least Concern.
Panamic Sand Lance, Ammodytoides gilli. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, August 2010. Length: 7.5 cm (3.0 inches). Identification courtesy of Cindy Klepadio, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.