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I’ve Seen That – Acanthemblemaria Aspera

For divers who take the time to hover over reefs looking for small marine life, you’ve hopefully been rewarded with glimpses of the cute roughhead Blenny (Acanthemblemaria aspera). They are fairly common to our Cayman Caribbean and easier to spot with the yellow coloration as in this photo than in other colors which blend with their surrounding environment. They’re not especially shy, so with a little patience and good buoyancy you should be able to get close enough to observe and take photos.

Here are some other interesting facts:

  • Grow up to 1-1/2” long
  • Key distinguishing characteristics of this blenny are the bushy branched cirri (wispy tendrils) above each eye and their orange iris
  • Don’t make their own burrows but move in and occupy holes s left behind by other marine creatures.
  • Are bottom feeders of drifting, floating, or falling amphipods or copepods (microscopic
    zooplankton) in the water column just outside of their burrows.
  • Are oviparous – eggs deposited in a burrow by females where they are guarded by males until hatching

logo-ccmiLearn more about our marine environment and creatures from Katie Correia, former Science & Education Manager at Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Little Cayman Research Center. For more info on the CCMI, visit


March 2020