Atlantic midshipman

Porichthys plectrodon

Family Batrachoididae - toadfishes

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.
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
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