Throatspotted Blenny

Throatspotted Blenny, Malacoctenus tetranemus

The Throatspotted Blenny, Malacoctenus tetranenus, whose common Spanish name is trambollo pintado, is a species in the Labrisomid Blennies or Labrisomidae Family, known as trambollos in Mexico. Globally, there are eighteen species in the genus Malacoctenus, fourteen of which are found in Mexican waters, six in the Atlantic and eight in the Pacific.

The Throatspotted Blennies have shortened elongated bodies with a uniform depth throughout that tapers gradually at the rear into the tail. The sexes have similar coloration being dark brown dorsally and tan ventrally. They have a double row of dark greenish-brown blotches on their sides and their lower body has numerous dark spots. They also have a distinctive line that extends from the tip of their snout through the eye to the mid-body (pictured below). Their throat is densely covered with small dark spots after which they are named. They have a large black spot just behind their eyes. Their head is slender with a pointed snout, large eyes, a branched cirrus over each eye, and a pair of closely set and heavily branched cirri. Their mouth is small, opens at the front, and is equipped with one row of large teeth on the upper jaw. Their anal fin has two spines and 18 to 20 rays; their caudal fin is square; and their dorsal fin has 18 to 20 spines and nine to 12 rays with a slight notch in between. They have 11 to 15 gill rakers. They are covered with small scales.

The Throatspotted Blennies are a small shallow water coastal species found at depths up to 85 feet. They reach a maximum length of 7.5 cm (3.0 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.

hIn Mexican waters the Throatspotted Blenny have a limite range being found throughout the Sea of Cortez and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala; they are absent from the entire west coast of Baja.

Due to the unique spotting pattern on its throat, the Throatspotted Blenny is not easily confused with any other species.

The Throatspotted Blennies are too small to be of interest to most and are normally a “catch-and-release”.

Throatspotted Blenny, Malacoctenus tetranemus. Fish collected from a tidal pool at Km 17, El Tule, Baja California Sur, February 2007. Length: 2.5 cm (1.0 inch). Identification reconfirmed by H.-C. Lin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.