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Author: Linnaeus, 1766

Cepola rubescens Linnaeus, 1766

Diagnosis: body very elongate, ribbon-like, gradually tapering to a pointed tail, its depth contained more than thirteen times in total length. Head short, snout blunt; eye large, its diameter less than three times in head length; mouth large, oblique; teeth long, slender, widely spaced in a single row on both jaws. Dorsal and anal fins very long, dorsal with 67-70 rays, first two unsegmented, anal with about 60 rays; pelvic fins inserted slightly in advance of level of pectoral fin base. Caudal fin with median rays longer and free at their tip. Scales minute, cycloid. Colour: back and sides dark red or orange-red, belly orange or yellowish; dorsal and anal fins light reddish-yellow, the former often with a red blotch. Size: to 70 cm SL, usually 30-35 cm.

Habitat: benthic on muddy sand bottoms, between 15 and 200 m. Lives singly or in small groups, in vertical burrows in stiff mud, but it was suggested (Atkinson, 1976) that the fish swims for part of the time in midwater. Food: chiefly small crustaceans and chaetognaths. Reproduction: spring through autumn in Mediterranean; eggs pelagic.

Distribution: eastern Atlantic northward to British Isles and Mediterranean. Elsewhere, southward to northern Senegal (15° N).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Holt, 1891b: 446, pl. XLVIII (fig. 22, mature egg) | Holt, 1899b: 48 | Montalenti, 1937: 407-412, fig. 277, pl. XXXIII (fig. 1-14) | Bini, 1967-1972, 1968, 5: 2 fig. (col.), p. 86.
Otoliths (sagitta). Frost, 1927b: 303, pl. V (fig. 26) | Sanz Echeverría, 1941: 346-348, fig. 1-5. Cf. also C. pauciradiata Cadenat: Schmidt, 1968: 42, pl. 8 (fig. 110) & 20.

Red band-fish (Cepola rubescens)