Gymnoscyphus ascitus

Common Name

Alien Clingfish

Year Described

Bohlke & Robins 1970


Dorsal Fin: 6-8
Anal Fin: 7-8
Pectoral Fin: 23-24
Vertebrae: 15+16
Pelvic Fin: I, 4

A unique, elongated deepwater clingfish. Head flattened. Nostrils both tubular. Teeth with hooked tips directed slightly posteriorly. Top lip well developed. Four gill arches bearing filaments (mainly on three). Gill membranes united with the isthmus. There is a single pelvic disc which lacks papillae. Pelvic disk poorly developed. Disk connected to the body by a fleshy fold. Fins placed far rearward on body. Dorsal and anal fin opposite but anal fin with one more ray forward. Pectoral fin fan shaped. Tail rounded. Scales absent. Lateral line absent except for sensory pores on head.


Fresh specimens are pale with a red head and several red bands on the body. Usually only three red bands are complete and the rest are partial or broken up into spots. A pair of red bands on tail.


Specimens range from 16-32mm SL.


Specimens collected between 231-318m. Found on rubble bottoms.


Taken off St. Vincent (Lesser Antilles), northern Cuba, and off Cozumel Is.


Böhlke, J.E. and C.R. Robins. 1970. A new genus and species of deep-dwelling clingfish from the Lesser Antilles. Notulae Naturae (Philadelphia) No. 434: 1-12.

Conway, K.W. & H.L. Prestridge. 2016. Multiple new records of Gymnoscyphus ascitus Böhlke and Robins, 1970 (Perciformes: Gobiesocidae) from the western Central Atlantic. Check List, 7(5), 581-582.

Other Notes

Quite distinct from any other clingfish in the New World and closest in form to several New Zealand species from deep water. The pelvic disk without papillae is unique among clingfishes and coloration and habitat are enough to separate it from all others in the area.