Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Fish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates » Dragonets and Relatives: Callionymoidei - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Lancer Dragonet (paradiplogrammus Bairdi): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, THEIR RELATIVES DRAGONETS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Dragonets and Relatives: Callionymoidei - Lancer Dragonet (paradiplogrammus Bairdi): Species Account

body bottom males dorsal

Physical characteristics: Lancer dragonets reach a total length of about 4 inches (11 centimeters). Males are larger than females, have larger fins, an extended dorsal fin, and bolder color patterns on the body and fins. The body is long and has no scales. These fish have four spines on the first dorsal fin. The color pattern varies between sexes. The top half of the body has marbling and mottling in shades of brown, black, and white. There are white, roundish blotches between narrow brown bars on the bottom half of the body. The first dorsal fin of males has a yellow swirl, and the second dorsal fin has a downward-pointing pattern of dark bands. Males also have blue lines and rows of spots on the first dorsal fin; blue bars with narrow orange edges on the first bone of the gill cover; orange spots, small blue lines, and crescent-shaped markings on the top half of the body; and blue spots around the bottom half of the body and the eyes.


Geographic range: Lancer dragonets live in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda and from southern Florida, United States, to northern South America and west into the Gulf of Mexico.

Lancer dragonets have coloring that is good camouflage as they forage for food along the bottom. (Illustration by Marguette Dongvillo. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Lancer dragonets are bottom dwellers. They live on sand patches on shallow reefs, rocky shorelines, and sea-grass flats at depths of 3 to 300 feet (1 to 91 meters).


Diet: Lancer dragonets eat small bottom-dwelling invertebrates.

Behavior and reproduction: Lancer dragonets take advantage of their camouflage coloring as they forage for food along the bottom. Males defend their territories and females by displaying their fins. Males also begin courtship by displaying their fins to females. These fish spawn in pairs after rising a short distance in the water, where the eggs are fertilized. Eggs drift in a mass in the water. The egg mass breaks up before hatching.


Lancer dragonets and people: Lancer dragonets are collected for aquariums.


Conservation status: Lancer dragonets are not threatened or endangered. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Allen, Gerald. Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific. Jacksonville, FL: New World, 2003.

Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Web sites:

"Dragonets." Life at the Edge of Reef. http://www.edge-of-reef.com/callionimidi/callionimidien.htm (accessed on November 1, 2004).

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