Foetorepus agassizii

Common Name

Spotfin Dragonet

Year Described

Goode & Bean, 1888


Dorsal Fin: IV; 8
Anal Fin: 7
Pectoral Fin: 19-22 (1 simple)
Pelvic: I, 5
Caudal Fin: 7 branched + 1 upper and 2 lower simple rays
Vertebrae: 7

Body elongate and depressed, especially on the head. Body tapering to tail. Eye quite large, close together, and dorsally placed. Mouth protrusible, small (just short of anterior orbit) and subterminal. Teeth only in jaws and not palatine or vomer. Head length a quarter of standard length. Gill opening small and oval. Preopercular spine with two strong spines at tip but none at base. Two dorsal fins: one spiny and one soft. First spine of D1 not elongate in both sexes. D2 about as high as non-filamentous part of D1 and straight in profile. D2 consists of branched rays. Anal fin about as long as D2 with strong notches in the membrane margin. Anal fin consists of simple rays except for the final one which is branched. Pectoral fin large and fanlike. Pelvic fin expanded and broad with only a tiny membrane connecting it to pectoral fin base. Caudal fin in males with middle 2-3 rays greatly lengthened (females not greatly modified but with a pronounced lower lobe). Lateral line single. Scaleless.


Body pale reddish grading to white on the belly. Several scrawled yellow stripes edged in red on body and yellow spots on the head. Dorsal fin pale with yellow spots and/or bands. First dorsal fin with a strong black oval spot between last two rays. Caudal fin pale with yellow spots and a reddish streak along axis of longest rays and lower margin. Pelvic fin reddish with yellow spots and a blackish tip. Anal fin with a broad black band edged in bright red.


Maximum size to 240mm SL. Common less than 187mm.


Found on outer continental shelves and slopes, usually over 50m to around 340m. This species is more common at depths deeper than 200m. Maximum depth to 700m. Found over fine grained sediments resting on the bottom.


Widespread from off northern New England to southern Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico, to northern South America (Amazon area).


Bemis, K.E., Marcy-Quay, B., Galbraith, J.K., Wuenschel, M.J., Sullivan, P.J., & W.E. Bemis. 2018. Deep-Water Dragonets (Teleostei: Callionymidae: Foetorepus) of the Mid Atlantic Bight: A Little-Known Genus from the Edge of the Continental Shelf. Copeia, 106(1), 188-198.

Nakabo, T., & K.E. Hartel. 1999. Foetorepus goodenbeani: a new species of dragonet (Teleostei: Callionymidae) from the western North Atlantic Ocean. Copeia, 114-121.

Other Notes

Sympatric with Foetorepus goodenbeani but can be distinguished by presence or absence of dorsal filaments (especially in males), caudal filaments (males) and details of fin and body coloration (i.e. dorsal fin ocelli).