Atlantic midshipman

Porichthys plectrodon

Family Batrachoididae - toadfishes

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate, tapering; head flattened dorsoventrally, eyes on top of head; mouth large, slightly oblique; color golden, greenish or brownish with yellowish belly and several darker blotches on the sides; several rows of "photophores" on sides and ventral surface; opercle with sharp spine capable of injecting harmless (to humans) venom; 2 dorsal fins, the 1st consisting of 2 spines and no rays; 2nd dorsal fin and anal fin long with many rays; body scaleless, smooth; no fleshy tabs on head; pelvic fins small, anterior to pectoral fins.
Similar Species
The Gulf toadfish has 3 spines in its 1st dorsal fin, fleshy tabs on jaws and eyes, and no photophores.
Habitat
Gulf and bay, bottom dwellers, prefer sandy or mud bottoms
Maximum Size
29 cm (11 1/2 in), common to 20 cm (8 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. II+34-36; A. III,30-37 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
P. porossissimus
Comments
Its name comes from the arrangement of the photophores on ventral surface which resemble the buttons on a nineteenth century naval midshipman's uniform; Can produce sounds like grunts and whistles.
State size/bag limits