SIGNAL BLENNY
Emblemaria hypacanthus

Habitat: Signal blennies typically are found in empty mollusc tubes and holes in the reef.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 2 inches long.

Natural history: Everybody gets blennies and gobies mixed up. Both rest on the bottom, perched on their pectoral fins; both are brightly colored; and both are about two to three inches long. So don't feel bad if you are confused. The difference is, blennies have one long dorsal fin, while gobies have two separate fins. Most blennies also have little tufts above their eyes called "cirri." The signal blenny has a large dorsal fin that looks like a sail on his back. He uses this fin to defend his territory on the reef from intruders. With his sail unfurled he is a pretty imposing little blenny. His dorsal fin is also used to attract a mate. He jerks in and out of his tube and flashes his big fin, hoping to get a female's attention. If she likes what she sees, the female will deposit a few eggs on the outside of his tube. He will guard the eggs from predators for several days until they hatch. Blennies eat mainly zooplankton, including isopods and amphipods.

Range: From Baja, California, south to Peru.


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