Barnaclebill Blenny
Borracho Vacilón
(Hypsoblennius brevipinnis)

Barnaclebill Blenny, Hypsoblennius brevipinnis: The Barnaclebill Blenny has dark brown sides with a horizontal row of circular tan patches just below the base of the dorsal fin and a second row of smaller patches or spots just below.

The lower sides are whitish to yellow, the head has small brownish red spots and a prominent oblique tan band behind the eye with a dark-edged whitish stripe on its upper and lower margin.

They have moderately enlongated bodies with short robust heads with a very steep front profile.

They are characterized by a long slender cirrus with several branches over the eye and a rear nostril with a broad cirrus.

They have 12 dorsal fin spines and 12 dorsal fin rays with a slight notch between, 2 anal fin rays and 14 anal fin rays.

The Barnaclebill Blenny is a shallow water, diurnal (day time), highly territorial predator that feeds mostly on bethic crustaceans including small crabs. They live in empty barnacle shells usually in the first 30 feet of the water column. They reach a maximum length of 7 cm (2.75 inches).

The Barnaclebill Blenny might be confused with the Bay Blenny, Hypsoblennius gentilis (red throat) or the Mussel Blenny, Hypsoblennius jenkinsi (bushy eye cirrus).

In Mexican waters the Barnaclebill Blenny is found south of Guerrero Negro along the Pacific side of Baja, in the lower half of the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

Interestingly it is one of the few species that have migrated into the Atlantic Ocean via the Panama Canal.

Due to its size and rarity the Barnaclebill Blenny is of limited interest to most.

The Barnaclebill Blenny is a member of the Labrisomidae Family whose members are known in Mexico as trambollos. The labrisomids form the largest and most diverse group of blennioid fishes found in Mexican waters. They are small fishes characterized by having prominent head cirri, well-developed scales, conical jaw teeth and drab colorations. They are highly secretive bottom dwellers that stay close to shelter. At present there are approximately 100 species of Labrisomids known globally of which 23 species are found in Mexican waters. The Barnaclebill Blenny is of the Hypsoblennius Genus of which there are sixteen known species of which three are found in Mexican waters.

Barnaclebill Blenny picture

Barnaclebill Blenny, Hypsoblennius brevipinnis: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in August 2011. Size 4.5 cm (1.8 inches). Identification reconfirmed by Grant Galland, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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