Key to the species of Gobionellus
This key is from Pezold 1984

1a. Scales over trunk region from second dorsal and anal fin origins to caudal fin base reduced ctenoid type (cycloid in appearance, smooth to the touch) ......................2

1b. Scales over trunk region finely ctenoid, not smooth to the touch.....................3

2a. Total elements of second dorsal and anal fins equal in number, 15 in each fin; dorsal fins broadly confluent; no midlateral blotches, may have blotches on dorsum but not extending below midline ..................................................................... G. liolepis

2b. One more ray in anal fin than second dorsal fin (Usually 14 and 13, respectively); first dorsal base extends to second dorsal but not broadly connected; sides of trunk with vertically elongate midlateral blotches that extend above and below midline .................................................................................................G. stomatus

3a. Total elements in soft dorsal and anal fins equal, 13 in each; scales large, 28 to 35 in a lateral series; nape naked or with few scales ............................. G. daguae

3b. One more element in anal fin than in soft dorsal; scales moderate to small 50-90+; nape completely scaled ......................................................................................4

4a. Generally 13 total elements in the second dorsal, 14 in the anal fin; prominent vertically elongate midlateral blotches extending above and below the midline; jaw extremely elongate in males, reaching beyond rear margin of orbit, to preopercle in large individuals (10.6-16.5% SL) .......................................................... G. microdon

4b. Usually 14 elements in D2, 15 in anal fin; if blotches present, restricted to dorsum; jaw to posterior margin of orbit, never approaching preopercle (7.5-10.5% SL) .....5

5a. Most prominent pigmentation a well-defined dark patch on opercle and a basicaudal spot, anterolateral blotch described below may be faintly visible; lateral scales 54 to 66 .................................................................................... G. occidentalis

5b. Most prominent pigmentation an anterolateral trunk blotch beneath tips of upper pectoral rays; some, especially juveniles, with a row of small dots midlaterally (may be seen in juvenile G. occidentalis) and/or blotches on dorsum and a basicaudal spot; lateral scales about 60 to 70's in Caribbean and South American populations, mid 70's to low 90's in Gulf of Mexico, both forms occurring along eastern seaboard of United States .................................................................................................. G. oceanicus

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