Fish Identification: Find Family
Glossary 167 families of perch-likes FishBase

Acanthuridae Acanthuridae - (Surgeonfishes, tangs, unicornfishes) Distribution: Circumtropical, especially around coral reefs; five species in the Atlantic, the remaining in the Pacific and Indian oceans. All have a deep compressed body with the eye high on the head and a long preorbital bone. Single unnotched dorsal fin with 4-9 spines and 19-31 rays; anal fin with 2 (only Naso) or 3 spines and 19-36 rays; pelvic fins with 1 spine and 3 (Naso and Paracanthurus) or 5 rays. Very small ctenoid scales. A small terminal mouth with a single row of close-set teeth. Most surgeon fishes graze on benthic algae and have a long intestine; some feed mainly on zooplankton or detritus. Surgeon fishes are able to slash other fishes with their sharp caudal spines by a rapid side sweep of the tail. Pelagic spawners. Many species have bright colors and are popular aquarium fishes.


Acropomatidae Acropomatidae - (Lanternbellies, temperate ocean-basses) Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Two dorsal fins, the first with 7-10 spines; the second with or without spine and with 8-10 soft rays; anal fin with 2-3 spines and 7-9 soft rays. Seven branchiostegal rays; 25 vertebrae. Opercle with two rounded spines. Lateral line complete. Pelvic fin with one spine and 5 soft rays. Species of Acropoma with light organs and the anus near the pelvic fin base. Several species are provisionally placed in this family.


Amarsipidae Amarsipidae - (Bagless glassfishes) Tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. Body translucent, without coloration. Pelvic fins jugular. No pharyngeal sacs. Dorsal fin with the anterior portion having 10-12 short spines and 22-27 longer soft rays posteriorly. Anal fin lacking spines; soft rays 28-32. Pectoral fin rays 17-19. With 45-47 vertebrae. Known only from larvae and juveniles, largest specimen only 12 cm SL. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418. Family name in Japanese = Tokonatsu-ibodai ka (Ref. 88878).


Ambassidae Ambassidae - (Asiatic glassfishes) Distribution: Asia and Oceania, Indo-west Pacific Oceans. Dorsal fin usually with 7-8 spines and 7-11 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and 7-11 softrays. Pelvic fin with 1 spine and 5 softrays; 24-25 vertebrae. Many species with semi-transparent body. Maximum length about 26 cm. Formerly known as Chandidae.


Ammodytidae Ammodytidae - (Sand lances) Distribution: Arctic, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Body elongate with minute cycloid scales. Dorsal and anal fin spines absent. Usually without pelvic fins. Lateral line running along dorsal. Toothless. Dorsal fin long; soft rays usually 40-69. Anal fin rays 14-36. Banchiostegal rays 7. Gill membranes separate. No swim bladder. Vertebrae 52-78. Maximum length 30 cm.


Anabantidae Anabantidae - (Climbing gouramies) Distribution: Africa and India to Philippines. Rarely brackish. Fixed conical teeth on jaws, prevomer, and parasphenoid. Relatively large mouth. Upper jaw slighlty protractile. The genus Sandelia has only cycloid scales, few gill rakers, and generally a carnivorous diet. Includes Coius that has been put in synonymy with Anabas, Coius cobojius being an Anabantidae (Kottelat, 2000; CAS_Ref_No 25865).


Anarhichadidae Anarhichadidae - (Wolffishes) Distribution: North Atlantic and North Pacific. Body mostly compressed and moderately elongate except one species Anarrhichthys ocellatus, is extremely elongate and for its shape goes by the common name wolf-eel. Dorsal fin long, starting at the head, and composed of 69-88 flexible spines in Anarhichas and 218-250 in Anarrhichthys. Anal fin with 42-55 soft rays in Anarhichas and 0-1 spine and 180-233 soft rays in Anarrhichthys. Caudal fin separated from dorsal and anal fins by a short peduncle in Anarhichas, median fins confluent and tapering to a point in Anarrhichthys. Pectoral fins large and rounded, with 18-24 rays. Pelvic fins absent. One pair of nostrils. Scales cycloid, minute and non-overlapping, or absent. Mechanosensory canals of head well developed, pores with age becoming overgrown: nasal 2, occipital 3-5, interorbital 1-2, postorbital 4-5, suborbital 7-9, preopercular 4, mandibular 3-4. One or two trunk lateral lines of superficial neuromasts, difficult to discern in preserved material. Most species have strong canines and molars for digging out and crushing clams and other hard-shelled prey. Gill membranes attached to the isthmus, gill openings widely separated. Branchiostegal rays 6-8. Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 72-89 to 251. Primarily demersal, inhabiting shallow to moderately deep cold waters. Maximum length about 2. 5 m. Also Ref. 7463.


Aplodactylidae Aplodactylidae - (Marblefishes) Distribution: coastal southern Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Chile. Spines in dorsal fin 14-23; soft rays 16-21. Anal fin soft rays 6-8. Vomerine teeth present. Jaw teeth varied: incisiform, lanceolate or tricuspid.


Apogonidae Apogonidae - (Cardinalfishes) Subfamilies: Amioidinae Fraser & Mabuchi, 2014; Apogoninae Günther, 1859; Paxtoninae Fraser & Mabuchi, 2014; Pseudamiinae Smith, 1954. See type genus for diagnostic characters (Ref. 96888). Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Some in brackish water; some (e.g. Glossamia) in streams (tropical Pacific Islands) (Ref. 7463). Tropical and subtropical, near shore to about a depth of 300 m. Most in coral or rocky reefs, and still some inhabit seagrass and coralline algal meadows, soft-bottom communities estuaries and lowland freshwater of warm-temperate waters (Ref. 96888). Subfamily Apogoninae Günther 1859 is known from the eastern Pacific, Atlantic basin and the Indo-Pacific; distribution is complete in the tropics and subtropical coastal zones down to nearly 300 meters; Tribes: Apogonichthyini Snodgrass & Heller 1905, Apogonini Günther 1859, Archamiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Cheilodipterini Bleeker 1856, Glossamiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Gymnapogonini Whitley 1941, Lepidamiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Ostorhinchini Whitley 1959, Pristiapogonini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Rhabdamiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Siphamiini Smith 1955, Sphaeramiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Veruluxini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014, Zoramiini Fraser & Mabuchi 2014 (Ref. 96888). Subfamily Paxtoninae Fraser & Mabuchi, 2014 is a monotypic subfamily known only from 6 specimens from northwestern Western Australia, collected by trawls in 40-80 m (Ref. 96888). Subfamily Pseudamiinae Smith 1954 is found along the continental coasts and islands of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Western Pacific out to Japan, Palmyra, Tahiti, Austral Islands and Australia; found in shallow water down to about 64 meters (Ref. 96888). Dorsal fins separate. First dorsal fin with 6-8 spines; 8-14 soft rays in the second. Spines in anal fin 2; soft rays 8-18. Scales usually ctenoid; several groups with cycloid scales (absent in Gymnapogon). Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 24 or 25 (10 + 14 or 15). Males are mouthbrooders. Most species nocturnal, feeding on zooplankton and small benthic invertebrates. Maximum length 20 cm; most species below 10 cm. They do generally well in aquariums.


Ariommatidae Ariommatidae - (Ariommatids) Marine; in deep waters. Distribution: tropical and subtropical eastern North and South America, Africa, Asia, Kermadec Islands, and Hawaii. Adults with pelvic fins. Dorsal fins 2. The spinous dorsal with 10-12 slender spines; soft dorsal with 14-18 soft rays. Three short spines in anal fin; soft rays 13-16. Pectoral fin rays 20-24. Two low fleshy keels on each side of caudal peduncle. 30-32 vertebrae. Gonochorism. Oviparous with pelagic eggs (Ref. 101194).


Arripidae Arripidae - (Australian salmon) Distribution: Southern Australia and New Zealand region. Soft dorsal fin considerably longer than anal fin. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Anal spines 3. Arripidae, used by many authors is incorrect (Ref. 27959). Paulin (Ref. 9701) suggested Arripididae as another spelling.


Artedidraconidae Artedidraconidae - (Barbled plunderfishes) Distribution: Deepwater Antarctic. Chin barbel present; opercle woth hook-shaped spine; four or five hypurals; vertebrae 33-41.


Badidae Badidae - (Chameleonfishes) Distribution: lowlands of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Mahanadi basins, in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh; and, Irrawaddy in Myanmar and China (Dario species). Ectopterygoid no teeth. Maxillary process on dentigerous process of premaxilla absent. Preopercle and infraorbitals with smooth margins. Infraorbital ossicle next to lachrymal (infraorbital 2) lost. Vertebrae 24-30. larva with unique multicellular adhesive organ at tip of yolk sac. Eggs completely surrounded by a sheath of fibers without actually being attached to these, micropylar region without ridges or circular areas of carpetlike fibers. Suggested new common name for this family in a coming ref. following Ref. 58418.


Banjosidae Banjosidae - (Banjofishes) Marine, coastal. Distribution: China, southern Japan, and Korea. Deep and strongly compressed body. Head profile steep and nearly straight. No spines on operculum. Ten flattened spines in dorsal fin; soft rays 12. Three spines in anal fin, the second one produced; soft rays 7. Pelvic fin insertion behind base of pectoral fin. Slightly emarginate caudal fin. Lateral line uninterrupted and complete. Brownish or olive. Eight faint longitudinal dark bands. Attains about 30 cm maximum length. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Bathyclupeidae Bathyclupeidae - (Deep-sea scalyfins) Distribution: Indian, western Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico. Oceanic. Spineless dorsal fin in posterior half of the body. Long anal fin with a single spine. Dorsal and anal fins with scales. Mouth bordered by maxillae and premaxillae. Vertebrae usually 31 (10 + 21) (Ref. 7463). Dorsal fin with 1 spine and 8 to 10 soft rays; anal fin with 1 spine and 24 to 39 soft rays; pectoral fin with 26 to 30 rays (Ref. 9847). Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Bathydraconidae Bathydraconidae - (Antarctic dragonfishes) Distribution: Antarctic. Mouth usually nonprotrusible. Gill membranes fused. Spinous dorsal fin lacking.


Bathymasteridae Bathymasteridae - (Ronquils) Distribution: North Pacific. Dorsal and anal fins long, height nearly even along their full length, seprated from large, truncate to round caudal fin by distinct caudal peduncle. Dorsal fin with 43-49 branched and unbranched rays and anal fin with 31-36 rays, these counts including 1-6 weak, flexible spines at front of dorsal fin and 1 or 2 in anal fin. Pectoral fins large and rounded. Pelvic fins thoracic, with 1 spine and 5 rays. One pair of nostrils. Scales weakly ctenoid, almost smooth, to strongly ctenoid. Sensory pores on top of head and cheeks usually distinct. Lateral line distinct, running high on body and nearly straight to end of dorsal fin, with 75-105 scales. Palatine and vomerine teeth present. Gill membranes separate, free of the isthmus; except in Rathbunella broadly joined and forming a free fold across the isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 6. Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 46-55. Colored olive brown to dull red, bluish black or purplish with vivid green, blue, yellow, red, orange and white bars and spots or other markings, varying somewhat by population or between the sexes. Maximum length more than 38 cm. Marine; intertidal zone to outer continental shelf, mainly along rocky shores and at depths less than 150 m. Also Ref. 7463.


Bembropidae Bembropidae - () Valid family according to Near et al., 2013. Near, T. J., A. Dornburg, R. I. Eytan, B. P. Keck, W. L. Smith, K. L. Kuhn, J. A. Moore, S. A. Price, F. T. Burbrink, M. Friedman, and P. C. Wainwright. 2013. Phylogeny and tempo of diversification in the superradiation of spiny-rayed fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101:12738-21743. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1304661110. Species will be allocated for the next update.


Blenniidae Blenniidae - (Combtooth blennies) Distribution: Indian, Atlantic and Pacific. Chiefly tropical and subtropical marine; rare in fresh- and brackish water. Scaleless body (lateral line scales modified in few species). Premaxillae not protractile. Usually blunt head. Pelvic fins present in all but 2 species, before pectorals, with 1 short, inconspicuous spine and 2-4 segmented rays. No teeth in palatines; vomerine teeth present or absent. Teeth in jaws comblike, fixed or movable (canine teeth occasionally present). Dorsal spines 3-17, flexible; 9-119 segmented soft rays. Pectoral rays 10-18, unbranched. Caudal fin rays branched or unbranched. Anal spines 2. All with basisphenoid except in Nemophini. Swim bladder usually absent in adults, except in Phenablennius, Omox, and most Nemophini. Vertebrae often 28-44 (135 in Xiphasia) (Ref. 7463). Typically elongate with long dorsal and anal fins; eyes often positioned high on the head and usually with supraorbital cirri; cirri also often present near the nape, usually on the anterior nostril, variously on the posterior nostril, and near one or more of the preoperculomandibular sensory canal pores; with a spinous process on the sphenotic; the insertion of the hyomandibula relatively far posterior, well separated from the posterior margin of the orbit; the distal portion of the median-fin spines unossified in some; coracoid reduced and fused to the cleithrum; interopercle reduced in size, often not extending past the posterior end of the posterior ceratohyal; incisoriform teeth; the urohyal with 2 lateral projections on each side and strong ligamentous attachments to the respective hypohyals; adult males often with fleshy rugosities on the anal-fin spines; the lateral line on the body mostly reduced or even absent (Ref. 94102). Maximum length about 54 cm; most smaller than 15 cm (Ref. 7463). Mostly bottom dwelling species feeding on a mixed diet of algae and benthic invertebrates; some are planktivores, and some are specialized to feed on skin or fins of larger fishes, with mimic as cleaner. Males attract gravid females to lay their eggs in a small hole or crevice, or underneath empty bivalve shells. The eggs are then guarded by the male or by both parents. 420 species (Ref. 76835). Most occurring in shallow coastal marine waters, in rocky intertidal areas, coral reefs, mangroves, oyster beds and in the lower reaches of most rivers (Ref. 94102). Oviparous. Eggs are demersal and adhesive (Ref. 205), and are attached to the substrate via a filamentous, adhesive pad or pedestal (Ref. 94114). Larvae are planktonic, often found in shallow, coastal waters (Ref. 94114).


Bovichtidae Bovichtidae - (Thornfishes) Distribution: marine habitats in southern Australia, New Zealand, and southern South America. Freshwater habitats in southeastern Australia and Tasmania. Mouth protrusible. Snout not very elongated. Gill membranes not united to isthmus, projecting far forward. One lateral line; snout not produced. Spinous dorsal fin present. Freshwater species = ISCAAP 13; marine species = ISCAAP 39. Named Bovichthyidae in Nelson (1994).


Bramidae Bramidae - (Pomfrets) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; oceanic. Dorsal fin extending over length of body in some; anterior dorsal fin spines unbranched; anal spines lost; 36-54 vertebrae. To 85 cm maximum length, reported for Taractichthys longipinnis. Eumegistus is thought to be the most primitive genus.


Caesionidae Caesionidae - (Fusiliers) Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. Dorsal fin having 10-15 slender spines; soft rays 8-22. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 9-13. Jaws with small teeth in most species. Upper jaw highly protractile. Vertebrae 24. To about 60 cm maximum length. Fusiliers are closely related to snappers (Lutjanidae) but possess several adaptations for a planktivorous mode of life, such as the elongate fusiform body, the small mouth, and the deeply forked caudal fin. During the day they occur in large zooplankton feeding schools in mid-water over the reef, along steep outer reef slopes and around deep lagoon pinnacles. Although they are active swimmers, they often pause to pick zooplankton and at cleaning stations, and shelter within the reef at night. Require unrestricted space, hence unsuitable for home aquaria. Fusiliers are important food fishes and are also used as bait in tuna fisheries.


Callanthiidae Callanthiidae - (Splendid perches) Eastern Atlantic (including the Mediterranean), Indian and Pacific Oceans. Flat nasal organ devoid of lamellae; lateral line running along base of dorsal fin. There is a midlateral row of scales with pits and/or grooves.


Callionymidae Callionymidae - (Dragonets) Distribution: Mainly Indo-West Pacific. Tropical, benthic. Small gill opening on upper side of head. A strong spine in preopercle. Operculum and suboperculum without spines. Lateral line present. Pectoral skeleton with 3 radials. Basisphenoid or posttemporal usually lacking. Nasal bones paired. Postcleithra 2. Hypurals fused into one plate. Spines in dorsal fin usually 4; soft rays 6-11. Anal fin soft rays 4-10. Maximum length about 25 cm (relatively small, 2-35 cm TL, Ref. 75992). Commonly sexually dimorphic. Colorful. Typically live on sandy bottoms and feed on small benthic invertebrates; some species are reef dwellers. Pelagic spawners. Some Synchiropus species are popular in the aquarium trade but are difficult to maintain as they feed only on small invertebrates. Found in warm and temperate seas from the very shallow waters to depths of at least 900 m; found on sandy or muddy substrates, among weeds and in coral reefs from tide pools and the surf zone (Ref. 75992).


Caproidae Caproidae - (Boarfishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Body covered with small ctenoid scales; spines in dorsal fin 7-9; anal fin spines 2-3; a single spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Rounded caudal fin. Distinct sagittal crest; pleural ribs present. Vertebrae 21-23.


Carangidae Carangidae - (Jacks and pompanos) Chiefly marine; rarely brackish. Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Body generally compressed, although body shape extremely variable from very deep to fusiform. Most species with only small cycloid scales. Scales along lateral line often modified into spiny scutes. Detached finlets, as many as nine, sometimes found behind dorsal and anal fins. Large juveniles and adults with 2 dorsal fins. Anterior dorsal fin with 3-9 spines; the second having 1 spine and usually 18-37 soft rays. Anal spines usually 3, the first 2 separate from the rest; soft rays usually 15-31. Widely forked caudal fin. Caudal peduncle slender. Pelvic fins lacking in Parona signata. Vertebrae 24-27 (modally 24). Fast swimming predators of the waters above the reef and in the open sea. Some root in sand for invertebrates and fishes. One of the most important families of tropical marine fishes; fished commercially and for recreation.


Caristiidae Caristiidae - (Manefishes) Worldwide. Mesopelagic. Oceanic. Deep bodied. Dorsal fin high with long base, origin on head; anal fin with 17 to 22 elements (spines lost); pectoral fins with 16 to 21 rays (Ref. 9850). Elongate pelvic fins, inserted before or behind pectoral fin base; with 1 spine and 5 soft rays 5. Caudal rays 15, branched. Branchiostegal rays 7. With 35-40 vertebrae. Associated with siphonophores, including feeding on them. Common names: Veilfins Subfamilies: Caristiinae (Caristius, Platyberyx): large mouth with maxillary bone reaching vertical through posterior margin of orbit; narrow infraorbital region (width 2-4% SL); upper jaw completely free of suborbitalia; well-pronounced palatine and vomer teeth; well developed lateral line, presence of distinct tubular scales or poorly pronounced (traces); 36-49 vertebrae, without urostyle; flexible and elastic fin rays (Ref. 95096). Paracaristiinae ((Paracaristius, Neocaristius): small mouth, end of maxillary bone hardly extends beyond vertical through middle of eye; upper jaw totally covered by suborbitalia; wide suborbital region (width 9.5-14.5% SL); palatine and vomer teeth lacking or present only on vomer head (Neocaristius); lateral line is not seen; 32-36 vertebrae, without urostyle; weak or breakable fin rays (Ref. 95096). Also Ref. 7463.


Centrarchidae Centrarchidae - (Sunfishes) Distribution: North America. Anal spines at least 3. Pseudobranch small and hidden. Branchiostegal rays 5-7. Separate gill membranes. To about 83 cm maximum length (reported for Micropterus salmoides). Mostly nest builders. Nest building and guarding done by the male. Valued as sports fish and used in physiological and ecological experiments. Introduced into many areas outside native range.


Centrogenyidae Centrogenyidae - (False scorpionfishes) Family needs more work. Only one marine species (rarely brackish) bearing a superficial resemblance to cirrhitids. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418. Spelling follows CoF (Eschmeyer, June 2007: Ref.). Also misspelled Centrogeniidae (Ref. 37107, Ref. 58010) or Centrogenysidae.


Centrolophidae Centrolophidae - (Medusafishes) Distribution: All tropical and temperate seas, except of mid-Indian and mid-Pacific Oceans. Adults with pelvic fins. Continuous dorsal fin, either with 0-5 feeble spines graduating to soft rays or 5-9 stout and much shorter spines not graduating to soft rays. Anal fin rays 15-41, usually 3 of which are spines.


Centropomidae Centropomidae - (Snooks) Family content changed since Ref. 7463. Includes only Centropomus with 12 species, (= former Centropominae). Hypopterus (1 sp.), Lates (9 spp.) and Psammoperca (1 sp.) are placed in a new family, Latidae (= former Centropomidae: Latinae) (Ref. 54714). Distribution: Americas and Atlantic Ocean. Perch-like fishes with concave snout profiles. Marine (often brackish); some in freshwater. Branchiostegal 7 rays. Important food fishes. Maximum length about 1.4 m. The following information (Ref. 7463) needs to be reviewed after the splitting. Lateral line extends onto caudal peduncle, reaching posterior margin of fin (except in one species); some species with 3 rows on the tail. Pelvic axis usually with scaly process. Dorsal fin bipartite (either deeply notched or with a distinct gap); with 7 or 8 spines on the first part; 1 spine and 8-11 soft rays on the second. Anal fin 3 spines; 6- 9 soft rays. Pelvic fin 1 spine, 5 soft rays. Caudal fin rounded, truncate or forked.


Cepolidae Cepolidae - (Bandfishes) Distribution: Eastern Atlantic (off Europe and Mediterranean) and Indo-West Pacific (including New Zealand). Continuous dorsal fin with 0-4 spines (often 3). Anal fin 0-2 spines. Vomer and palatine toothless. Postcleithrum 1. Branchiostegal rays 6. Lateral line found along dorsal fin base. Epineural ribs in some trunk vertebrae fused proximally to corresponding pleural ribs. Body color usually red or pink. Maximum length 70 cm, attained in Cepola rubescens. Most species live in self-made burrows in muddy or fine-sand areas. Feed on zooplankton. Pelagic eggs.


Chaenopsidae Chaenopsidae - (Pike-, tube- and flagblennies) Distribution: North and South America, tropical. Body compressed; usually elongated to anguilliform in Chaenopsis. Scaleless. Lateral line absent, or not more than 3 pores behind operculum. Maxilla hidden from external view. Dorsal fin much higher anteriorly in some species. Spines in dorsal fin 17-28; soft rays 10-38; total dorsal fin rays 29-57. Spines in anal fin 2: soft rays 19-38. Pectoral fin rays 12-15. Caudal fin separate or joined to dorsal and anal fins in varying degrees. Nape without cirri. With or without orbital and nasal cirri. Head rough, often with spines. About 16 cm maximum length; most much smaller. Symbiosis between a chaenopsid and a stony coral has been reported from the Caribbean. Most dwell in abandoned invertebrate tubes and feed on small crustaceans. Assumed to guard eggs in their tubes (Ref. 7463). Distinguished in having a relatively long palatine compared to the length of the vomer; rather than proximal, the post-temporal ventral arm is free from the neurocranium; the posterior portion of the lateral line lacking embedded, tubed scales; long upper jaw in both sexes, surpassing the posterior margin of the orbit; the insertion of the hyomandibula on the neurocranium is shifted posteriorly away from the orbit; the sphenotic bearing a small lateral spine; dorsal arm of the scapula reduced and free from the cleithrum (except Mccoskerichthys and at least one species of Neoclinus); unbranched caudal-fin rays (Ref. 94100).


Chaetodontidae Chaetodontidae - (Butterflyfishes) Atlantic (tropical to temperate), Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Primarily Indo-west Pacific. Highly compressed body. Dorsal fin continuous, with 6-16 spines and 15-30 soft rays. Spines in anal fin 3-5, usually 3, and 14-23 soft rays. Caudal fin with 15 branched rays, rounded to emarginate. Scales extend onto anal and dorsal fins. Mouth small, terminal and protrusible with a band or rows of small brushlike teeth. Gut coiled several times. Two anteriorly directed processes in swim bladder. Vertebrae 24 (11+13). Most with bright coloration, a dark band across the eye and an 'eyespot' dorsally. Generally near coral reefs. Typically diurnal. Many feed on a combination of coelenterate polyps or tentacles, small invertebrates, fish eggs, and filamentous algae while others are specialists or planktivores. Most species occur as heterosexual pairs. Pelagic spawners. Tholichthys larval stage with the head region covered with bony plates. Some of the planktivores and generalists do well in the aquarium, but most species are difficult to maintain, and obligate corallivores nearly impossible. Chaet- (gr.) = bristle, odont- (gr.) = tooth


Champsodontidae Champsodontidae - (Crocodile toothfishes) Distribution: Indo-Pacific. Elongate pelvic fins before pectorals. Small pectoral fins with an oblique base. Short spinous dorsal fin, with 5 spines and 17-20 rays. Long anal fin, with one spine and 17-20 soft rays. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Channichthyidae Channichthyidae - (Crocodile icefishes) Distribution: Antarctic and southern South America. Mouth nonprotrusible. Snout projecting forward and depressed. Spinous dorsal fin present. Pelvic fins broad or elongate. Vertebrae 22-31. Maximum length 75 cm. Gill membranes fused. Erythrocytes lacking in most or all species and is thought to be probably compensated for by the cold, well-oxygenated habitat, a large volume of blood circulation and skin respiration.


Channidae Channidae - (Snakeheads) Distribution: tropical Africa (three species) and southern Asia. Elongate body; lower jaw protruding. Dorsal and anal fin bases long. Pelvic fins may be lacking in some; with 6 rays when present. No spines in fins. Scales ctenoid or cycloid. Airbreathing through suprabranchial organ. About 1.2 m maximum length. Important in aquaculture and commonly used in rice-fish farming. Some species are widely introduced. Number of species: 26 (Ref. 36343).


Cheilodactylidae Cheilodactylidae - (Morwongs) Distribution: Southern Hemisphere (parts of Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans) and Northern Hemisphere (off Japan, China and Hawaiian Islands). Dorsal fin single, continuous or almost separate; spines 14-22; soft rays 19-39. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 7-19. No teeth in vomer and palatines. Adults with the lower 4-7 pectoral rays usually thickened, elongated, and free. Vertebrae usually 24. Moderately elongate and compressed fishes with small mouths and thick lips. About 1 m maximum length. Feed on small benthic invertebrates. Hide in holes at night (Ref. 7463). Inhabits subtropical and temperate nearshore waters; often solitary, demersal over reef substrates (Ref. 76788).


Cheimarrichthyidae Cheimarrichthyidae - (Torrentfish) Family Cheimarrhichthyidae is a monotypic family consisting of Cheimarrichthys fosteri which is found in fast-flowing rivers thoughout coastal New Zealand. It is called a torrentfish for it lives in tumbling white waters usually in large rivers with gravel and boulders and a broad bed. Such rivers are unstable, their beds shift during floods. Much of this habitat is difficult to reach that torrentfish are not easily observed and relatively little is known about them. The species may reach an elevation of 700 meters and penetrate 300 kilometers inland from the coast. The fish has a heavy body and broad head that is flattened on the ventral surface. The depressed head, its flattened ventral surface, combined with the broad pectoral and pelvic fins are hydrodynamically attuned to the swift-flowing currents. Dorsal fin with 3 or 4 short, isolated spines preceeding the long, low soft dorsal fin. The anal fin with 1 spine and 15 soft rays. The pelvic fins are under the head, anterior to the broad pectoral fins. The caudal fin is slightly forked. The mouth is small and non protractile, the snout overhangs the lower jaw. A lateral line is present with about 50scales along its length. Maximum total length is about 16 cm, most specimens are about 10 - 12.5 cm. Apparently spawns in the spring and has a marine larval stage, but the actual spawning site is unknown. Juveniles enter fresh water in spring and spend the rest of their lives there. Feeds on aquatic insects. The subterminal mouth is very effective for grazing invertebrates from rock surfaces.


Chiasmodontidae Chiasmodontidae - (Snaketooth fishes) Oceanic. Premaxilla and maxilla elongate and slender, firmly fused distally. Premaxilla with the front tip dorsally expanded and diverging to the sides. Mouth and stomach very distensible. Two separate dorsal fins, first short with 7-8 flexible spines, second long with 18 to 29 segmented rays; anal fin long with 1 spine, 17-29 segmented rays; 33-48 vertebrae (Ref. 9848). Pseudoscopelus with photophores and sometimes placed in its own family. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Chironemidae Chironemidae - (Kelpfishes) Distribution: coastal Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. Spines in dorsal fin 14-16; soft rays 15-21. Anal fin soft rays 6-8. Vomerine teeth present. Palatines toothless. Conical or villiform jaw teeth. About 40 cm maximum length.


Cichlidae Cichlidae - (Cichlids) Cichlids are distributed in fresh- and brackish waters in Central and South America, Texas (1 species), West Indies, Africa, Madagascar, Syria, Israel, Iran, Sri Lanka, and coastal southern India. Only one species occurs in true marine waters Tilapia guineensis (Günther, 1862). Some species widely introduced. Body shape quite variable, mostly moderately deep and compressed. A nostril on each side of head. Interrupted lateral line in most species. Scales in lateral lines may be over 100, usually 20-50. Dorsal fin usually with 7-25 spines and 5-30 soft rays. Spines in anal fin 3-15 (generally 3); soft rays 4-15 (a few with 30). Subocular shelf absent. About 80 cm maximum length, in Boulengerochromis microlepis. Colorful cichlids are reared as aquarium fish. Breeding activities highly organized. Parental care in 3 forms: mouthbrooding, substratebrooding, and substratebrooding of eggs then mouthbrooding of young. Species flocks are reported from Africa. CLOFFSCA: The cichlids are the most species-rich non-Ostariophysan fish family in freshwaters world-wide, and one of the major vertebrate families, with at least 1300 species and with estimates approaching 1900 species (Kullander, 1998). The geographical distribution includes freshwaters of Africa (900 valid species, estimated more than 1300 species), the Jordan Valley in the Middle East (four species), Iran (one species), southern India and Sri Lanka (3 species, also in brackish water), Madagascar (17 valid species, some also in brackish water), Cuba and Hispaniola (4 valid species, some in brackish water), North America and isthmian Central America (95 valid species), and South America (290 valid species ) (Kullander, 1998, updated). Cichlids are known by family or genus-level local names, commonly with an adjective to distinguish well-marked species. Higher level names include bujurqui (Peru, most cichlids), acará (Brazil, most cichlids), mochoroca (Venezuela), mojarra (Ecuador, Colombia, throughout Central America), krobia (Surinam), prapra (French Guiana). Cichla species are known locally as pavón (Venezuela, Colombia) or tucunaré (Brazil, Peru), the latter name expressed as lukanani (Guyana), toekoenali (Surinam), toukounaré (French Guiana) or similar names in the Guianas. Crenicichla species are known as jacundá in Brazil, añashúa in Peru, angoumot (French Guiana), mataguaro (Colombia, Venezuela), datra fisi (Surinam), cabeza amarga (Argentina and Uruguay). Cichlids are recognized by several unambiguous anatomical synapomorphies. 1. The loss of a major structural association between parts A2 and Aw of the adductor mandibulae muscle and the musculous insertion of a large ventral section of A2 onto the posterior border of the ascending process of the anguloarticular (Stiassny, 1981); 2. The presence of an extensive cartilaginous cap on the anterior margin of each second epibranchial bone (Stiassny, 1981); 3. The presence of an expanded head of each fourth epibranchial bone (Stiassny, 1981); 4. The presence of characteristically shaped and distributed micro-branchiospines on the gill arches (Stiassny, 1981); 5. The transversus dorsalis anterior muscle is subdivided into four distinct parts (Liem & Greenwood). 6. The stomach has an extendible blind pouch (Zihler, 1982) 7. The stomach has a left hand exit to the anterior intestine and the first intestinal loop is on the left side (Zihler, 1982) 8. The sagitta features an anterocaudal pseudocolliculum having a long and thick ventral part which is separated from the crista inferior by a long, deep and sharp furrow (Gaemers, 1985). 9. Short paired hypapophyses on the third and/or fourth vertebral centra (Kullander, 1998). Cichlid diversity has been explained both by their advanced brood care and by the versatile design of the pharyngeal jaw complex used for food mastication. The unpaired lower pharyngeal toothplate and the opposed upper pharyngeal tooth plates are contained in a muscular sling characterizing labroid fishes. There is considerable variation in the shape and of the toothplates and associated dentition, reflecting diet specializations. The oral jaws are generally highly movable and protrusible, and tooth shape varies greatly, although most Neotropical cichlids have simple, subconical, unicuspid teeth, whereas African cichlids commonly have laterally bicuspid or tricuspid oral teeth. Among Neotropical fishes they can be recognized externally by the possession of 7-24 (usually 13-16) spines in the dorsal fin, 2-12 (usually 3, rarely more than 5) anal-fin spines; and a single nostril on each side of the head. The lateral line is usually divided into one anterior upper portion ending below the end of the dorsal-fin base, and a posterior lower portion running along the middle of the caudal peduncle. Among Neotropical taxa, lengths range from about 25-30 mm adult size in Apistogramma and Taeniacara, to about 1 meter in Cichla temensis. Most taxa are in the interval 10-20 cm, however. Most Neotropical cichlids occupy lentic habitats within rivers and streams; but there is also a number of moderately to strongly adapted rheophilic species. The latter include many Crenicichla species and the genera Teleocichla and Retroculus, which are distributed mainly in the Brazilian and Guianan highlands. The majority of the Neotropical cichlids feed on a variety of invertebrates and some plant matter, and specializations among those species remain little investigated. Cichla, large Crenicichla species, Petenia, Parachromis, Caquetaia, Astronotus, and Acaronia, feed on fishes and large invertebrates. Chaetobranchopsis, Chaetobranchus and Satanoperca acuticeps are plankton feeders. Most Neotropical Cichlidae are moderately to strongly sex dimorphic, and breed pairwise. Eggs are typically deposited on a substrate and both parents guard offspring over several weeks, even for some time after the young are free-swimming. Smaller species, particularly in the genus Apistogramma, may be strongly sexually dimorphic. Sexes differ in color and the female is smaller than the male and assumes all or most of the care for the eggs and young. Oral incubation, or mouthbrooding, has been recorded for many Geophagus, Gymnogeophagus, and Satanoperca species, but also for one species of Aequidens and one species of Heros. Mouthbrooding species are usually biparental, and eggs are guarded on a substrate prior to oral incubation which starts with advanced eggs or newly hatched larvae. A few mouthbrooding species practice exclusive maternal brood care, with a minimum delay between egg-laying and oral incubation (Gymnogeophagus balzanii, NE Colombian Geophagus species). Geographical ranges are commonly limited to a single river or even one or a few streams, reflecting both ecological constraints and drainage basin histories. A few Neotropical cichlids are recorded from brackish water conditions. The northernmost species are Herichthys cyanoguttatus from the lower Rio Grande drainage in Texas, USA, on the Atlantic coast, and ‘Cichlasoma beani’, which reaches north to the Río Yaquí on the Pacific coast of Mexico. In South America cichlids are recorded from virtually all river drainages, but rarely occupy elevations over 500 m ASL, and generally remain below 200 m ASL. Cichlids are absent from the Río Marañón above the Pongo de Manseriche and from the Río Ucayali drainage upstream of Atalaya (the mouth of the Río Urubamba [Río Vilcanota] and Río Tombo [Río Apurimac]). There are four permanent cichlid species occurring on the island of Trinidad, but no cichlids are found on any other islands close to the Venezuelan coast. Most Atlantic coastal rivers of Brazil have 1-3 species of cichlids. The southern limit of the family in South America is not well documented, but may be in the lower Río Negro in Argentina, which river marks the northern limit of Patagonia. On the Pacific slope, cichlids are found in a succession of permanent rivers south to the Río Jequetepeque or perhaps even to slightly south of Lima, Peru. Because of the varied behavior and often attractive colors and moderate size, cichlids are commonly kept as ornamental fish. Practically all genera and more than half of the species have been kept in aquaria at some time. The traditionally most important aquarium species are Pterophyllum and Symphysodon species, the former often representing the aquarium hobby in logotypes. Sportfishing is concentrated on the Cichla species for which there is a strong North American and Brazilian market including sport fishing safaris and Tucunaré fishing contests predominantly in Brazil (Kelber, 1999). All the larger species are used as food fish, within a traditional artisanal and subsistence fishery, and all local markets in the lowland Amazon and Orinoco drainages offer Cichla, Astronotus, and other available species of sizes over 10 cm (Ferreira et al., 1998, for a market survey at Santarém). Astronotus species, and to some extent Cichla species are subject to aquaculture in Brazil. The family Cichlidae was first monographed by Heckel (1840), based on the Natterer collection from Brazil (illustrations in Riedl-Dorn, 2000). Another early major treatise is by Jardine (1843), based on the Schomburgk collection from Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela (Kullander & Stawikowski, 1997a-b, for identifications). Steindachner (1875) worked on the Thayer expedition collection of Amazonian cichlids, but did not add much beyond the work of Heckel. Günther (1868, based on several shorter papers) described and illustrated a large part of the Central American cichlid fauna, followed by Regan (1906-1908). Pellegrin (1904) revised the family with diagnoses of all genera and species known to him. Much of Pellegrin’s efforts with the Neotropical taxa were improved upon by Regan’s series of generic revisions in the next two years (Regan, 1905-1906), which remained the platform for all Neotropical cichlid systematics until the 1980s. The first modern phylogenetic revision of the Neotropical cichlids was presented by Cichocki (1976), and most recently Kullander (1988) and Farias et al. (1999) have provided phylogenetic hypotheses based on morphology and molecular data respectively. A formal classification down to tribe is provided by Kullander (1988). Scientific general reviews of the family are provided by Keenleyside (1991) and Barlow (2000). There is no scientific monograph covering all Neotropical cichlid species, but numerous aquarium books of variable quality, of which Stawikowski & Werner (1998) may be consulted for the most updated compilation of cichlasomine cichlids. Country monographs of cichlids are available for Peru (Kullander, 1986) and Surinam (Kullander & Nijssen, 1989). Bussing (1998: 293-384) summarizes data on 24 Costa Rican cichlid species; Keith et al. (2000: 146-229) summarize data for 38 cichlid species from French Guiana and adjacent countries; Greenfield & Thomerson (1997:184-206) cover 19 species from Belize Recent generic revisions cover Crenicichla (Ploeg, 1991; innumerable errors and inconsistencies), Gymnogeophagus (Reis & Malabarba, 1988), Apistogramma (Kullander, 1980, somewhat outdated), Cichlasoma (Kullander, 1983), Teleocichla (Kullander, 1988), Retroculus (Gosse, 1971), Geophagus s. lato (Gosse, 1976, somewhat outdated), Biotoecus (Kullander, 1989), and Mesonauta (Kullander & Silfvergrip, 1991). The check-list herein recognizes 403 valid Neotropical cichlid species out of XXX nominal taxa. Kullander (1998) estimated that there are about ten undescribed North-Central American cichlid taxa and about 160 undescribed South American taxa. Numerous problems of species discrimination remain. Some of the most enigmatic cases includes ‘Cichlasoma’ urophthalmus, of which Hubbs (1936) described numerous subspecies. Some of these taxa are certainly distinct species, but the status of highly localized subspecies from the Yucatán peninsula, which are based on one or very few specimens, remains a subject for revision. All these taxa are herein treated as valid for want of any better option. Another source of frustration concerns the generic assignment of Central American taxa, and a few South American taxa, which were excluded from the catch-all genus Cichlasoma by Kullander (1983). Most of these are now recognized in well-diagnosed genera (Kullander, 1986, 1996, Kullander & Hartel, 1997), but several are kept with the generic denomination ‘Cichlasoma’ which is judged better than to include them in genera to which they certainly do not belong. On the whole it is not satisfactory to have one-third of the Neotropical cichlid fauna without a generic name, illustrating a real problem with the more formalized procedure of naming species, but it could also signify a safeguarding against doubtful species. The current estimate of 450 South American taxa is based on species already represented in museum collections; it can be assumed that new collections will bring in many more new taxa.


Cirrhitidae Cirrhitidae - (Hawkfishes) Distribution: tropical western and eastern Atlantic, Indian and Pacific (mainly Indo-Pacific). Continuous dorsal fin with 10 spines, 11-17 soft rays; interspinal membranes with cirri. Anal fin 5-7 soft rays. Scales ctenoid or cycloid. Vertebrae 26-28. Maximum length about 55 cm. Species usually small and very colorful; inhabits rocks and corals. Have many features in common with the scorpaenids. Feed on small crustaceans and fishes. Protogynous hermaphrodites, with few dominant males. Spawning takes place in open water near the surface. Adapt well to aquarium conditions.


Clinidae Clinidae - (Clinids) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Mainly temperate in both southern and northern hemispheres (Ref. 7463); especially diverse in South African and southern Australian waters (Ref. 94100). Scales usually inconspicuous; cycloid, having radii in all fields. No cirri on nape, may be present elsewhere on head. Dorsal fin with more spines than soft rays; all fin rays simple. Anal fin 2 spines. A cordlike ligament stretches from ceratohyal to dentary symphasis. Maximum length about 60 cm reported for Heterostichus rostratus; mostly well below this size (Ref. 7463). Caudal-fin rays unbranched. With a strong hook on the anterior margin of the cleithrum. Many species variable in color, often matching their background. Propensity to occur in algae and seagrass areas (Ref. 94100).


Coryphaenidae Coryphaenidae - (Dolphinfishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean. Slender fishes with compressed head and body. The single dorsal fin originates on the head and extends over nearly the full length of the body. No spines; soft rays 48-65. No spines on anal fin. Deeply forked caudal fin. Forehead steep and high in adult males. Live specimens with exceedingly beautiful colors. Vertebrae 30-34. Attains 1.5 m maximum length. Dolphinfishes inhabit the surface waters where they feed upon small fishes and other animals.


Creediidae Creediidae - (Sandburrowers) Distribution: Indo-West Pacific from South Africa to Hawaii and Easter I. Lower jaw fringed with a row of cirri. A knob projecting backward at the articulation of lower jaw. Snout fleshy and jutting beyond lower jaw. Lateral line goes down to ventral surface gradually or abruptly. Scales in lateral line often with three-lobed posterior extensions, except the most anterior scales. A few species largely scaleless, except for lateral line scales which is always present. Continuous dorsal fin with 12-43 unbranched soft rays. Pelvic fin like an inverted bowl, 3-5 soft rays; pelvics very close to each other. Cornea folding in at junction of skin and cornea. Slightly bulging eyes. Opercular bone very much splintered or fimbriated. Maximum length about 8 cm.


Cryptacanthodidae Cryptacanthodidae - (Wrymouths) Distribution: cold-temperate north Pacific and northwest Atlantic. Body elongate, rounded anteriorly and compressed posteriorly; head broad, depressed, with eyes set high. Lower jaw projecting; mouth large, oblique to nearly vertical. Dorsal and anal fins long, extending to caudal fin base or confluent with caudal fin; dorsal fin with 60-80 stiff spines, anal fin with 0-3 spines and 43-52 soft rays. Pectoral fins very small. Pelvic fins absent, pelvic girdle present. Nostrils tubular, one pair (posterior absent). Scales absent, except small cycloid scales present in Cryptacanthodes giganteus. Cephalic mechanosensory canals not opening to the outside. Trunk lateral line represented by widely spaced pit organs (superficial neuromasts). Vomerine teeth present; palatine teeth present in all except Cryptacanthodes aleutensis. Gill membranes broadly connected to the isthmus, gill openings not continued far forward. Branchiostegal rays 6. Gill rakers very short, less than 15 in number. Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 71-88. Pale brown above and cream-colored below, with or without spots; or uniformly pink or red. Attain total lengths of 31-127 cm. Benthic, making extensive systems of tunnels with numerous exits by burrowing in soft substrates. Feeds on crustaceans and other invertebrates.


Dactyloscopidae Dactyloscopidae - (Sand stargazers) Distribution: North and South America. Warm temperate to tropical (Ref. 7463); marine and estuarine, rarely freshwater (Ref. 94100). Mouth strongly oblique. Usually with fringes on lips. Upper margin of operculum with fingerlike subdivisions. Eyes dorsally placed and somewhat protrusible; with or without eye stalk. Pelvic fin jugular, with 1 spine and 3 soft rays. Dorsal fin long, continuous or divided; 7-23 spines, 12-36 soft rays. Anal fin 21-41 soft rays. Lateral line 33-73 scales. Body scales cycloid. Parasphenoid absent. Vertebrae 10-13 abdominal, 23-42 caudal. Maximum length about 15 cm. Frequently burrow in sand. Pumps water with a branchiostegal instead of an opercular pump (Ref. 7463). Ventral margins of the opercles overlapping below the isthmus, fimbriae on the ventral margins of the interopercles; presence of bony fimbriae extending from the ventral margin of the interopercle and posterodorsal margin of the opercle; lateral line strongly arched anteriad and approaching the dorsal midline (Ref. 94100). The insertion of the hyomandibula relatively far posterior, well separated from the posterior margin of the orbit. Some with the distal portion of the median-fin spines unossified (Ref. 94102).


Datnioididae Datnioididae - (Freshwater tripletails) Distribution: from India to Borneo in fresh and brackish waters. Palatine and vomer toothless; caudal fin rounded; rounded lobes on anal and second dorsal fins giving fish the appearance of having three tails; dorsal fin with 12 spines and 15-16 soft rays; 24 vertebrae. The very young camouflage themselves by turning sideways and floating like leaves. Coius cobojius the type species of Coius has been assigned to Anabas. Therefore, Coius has been put in synonymy with Anabas and genus and species included in Anabantidae (Kottelat, 2000; CAS_Ref_No 25865). This implies: - a change of the family name in Datnioididae (= former Datnioidae); - a genus change for the other Datnioididae species that have been assigned to Coius but are not Anabantidae. All have been assigned to Datnioides, now the genus type for the family. Suggested new common name for this family in a coming ref. following Ref. 58418.


Dichistiidae Dichistiidae - (Galjoen fishes) Distribution: South Africa and Madagascar. Marine, coastal and brackish water. Relatively deep-bodied. Spines in dorsal fin 10; soft rays usually 18-23. Three spines in anal fin, soft rays usually 13 or 14. Gill membranes united to isthmus. Mouth small with some incisiform teeth. (= former Coracinidae)


Dinolestidae Dinolestidae - (Long-finned pike) Distribution: southern Australia. Body elongate. Lower jaw jutted. Teeth present on vomer and palatine. Some caninelike teeth in mouth. Scales covering head (including maxilla, snout, and occiput). Axillary scale at base of pelvics. Dorsal fins far apart. Anterior dorsal fin with 4 or 5 spines; the second dorsal fin with 1 short spine and about 18 or 19 soft rays. One short spine on anal fin; soft rays about 26. Scales cycloid; about 64-67 along lateral line. Lateral line extending onto caudal fin. Vertebrae 27 (10 + 17). To about 50 cm maximum length.


Dinopercidae Dinopercidae - (Cavebasses) Distribution: Indian and Atlantic (off Angola). Dorsal fin continuous; 9-11 spines, 18-20 soft-rays. Anal fin 3 spines, 12-14 soft rays. Caudal fin truncate. Lower jaw protruding. Maxillae exposed; large supramaxillae. Serrated preopercle. Frontal bones with high median crest. Opercular spines 2. Branchiostegal rays 7. Swim bladder large, 3 pairs of intrinsic muscles. Vertebrae 26.


Draconettidae Draconettidae - (Slope dragonets) Distribution: Pacific (Japan to Hawaii), Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Chiefly tropical to warm temperate. Each side of head with two nostrils. Relatively broad gill opening. One straight strong spine on both opercle and subopercle. No spine on preopercle. Lateral line vestigial or in a groove; head portion of lateral line developed. Pectoral skeleton with 4 radials. Posttemporal and basisphenoid present. Nasal bone absent. Single postcleithrum. Hypurals 2; separate. Spines in dorsal fin 3; soft rays 12-15. Anal fin soft rays 12 or 13. Uncommon or relatively rare. Found along edge of contintental shelf or on seamounts. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Drepaneidae Drepaneidae - (Sicklefishes) Indo-west Pacific and West Africa. Body deep and laterally compressed. Mouth markedly protractile. Spinal portion of dorsal fin with 13-14 spines, distinct from soft-rayed portion with 19-22 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and 17-19 soft rays; pectoral fins longer than head, falcate; 24 vertebrae. Maxilla distally exposed. Subocular shelf absent. Feed on small invertebrates. Assumed to be pelagic spawners (RF). Drepane punctata and D. longimana are only distinguished by color and might be the same species. Name was changed from Drepanidae (preoccupied in insects) to Drepaneidae, following Opinion of Jan. 1976.


Echeneidae Echeneidae - (Remoras) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Elongate body, with the head flattened and bearing a sucking disc having 10-28 transverse movable lamina (disc said to have evolved from a spinous dorsal fin). Mandible jutted. Scales small and cycloid. Spines absent in dorsal and anal fins. About 18-40 soft rays each in dorsal and anal fins. No swim bladder. Branchiostegal rays 8-11. With the sucking disc, the remora hitches to larger animals such as sharks, bony fishes, turtles or mammals. Some species reportedly show considerable host specificity. They act as cleaners on their hosts and also feed on 'leftovers'. Assumed to be pelagic spawners (RF). About 1 m maximum length (reported for Echeines naucrates); the smallest species measuring 17 cm.


Elassomatidae Elassomatidae - (Pygmy sunfishes) Native range: North America. No lateral line on body. Anal fin with 3 spines and 4-8 soft rays; dorsal fin with 3-5 spines and 8-13 soft rays.


Eleginopsidae Eleginopsidae - (Patagonian blennies) Off Tierra del Fuego. Formerly in Nototheniidae. Spelling from CofF (Eschmeyer, March 2009: Ref. 80565).


Eleotridae Eleotridae - (Sleepers) Distribution: circumglobal (Ref. 92840); of most tropical and subtropical areas; rare in temperate areas. Description: Separate pelvic fins, or fused to various extents. Mouth never subterminal. Cycloid or ctenoid scales. Dorsal fin 2-8 flexible spines. Vertebrae 25-28. Branchiostegal rays 6. Maximum length about 60 cm (reported for Dormitator maculatus). Characterized further by exhibiting heavy scalation (Ref. 92840)


Embiotocidae Embiotocidae - (Surfperches) Distribution: North Pacific, coastal, rarely in freshwater. Dorsal fin with 6-11 spines, except in Hysterocarpus traski (15-19); soft rays 9-28. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 15-35. Scales cycloid. Lateral line with generally 35-75 scales. Forked caudal fin. Viviparous. Intromission by the male is aided by the thickened anterior of anal fin. Embryos may rely on connections to maternal tissue for developmental requirements. About 45 cm maximum length, reported for Rhacochilus toxotes.


Emmelichthyidae Emmelichthyidae - (Rovers) Marine. Chiefly tropical to warm temperate in the Indo-Pacific, southern Pacific, eastern Atlantic, and Caribbean Sea (between 40°N and S, Ref. 96673). Jaws highly protrusible; toothless or nearly so. Maxilla scaly, expanded distally; not covered by preorbital bone with the mouth closed. Well-developed supramaxilla. Large rostral cartilage. Dorsal fin continuous with a slight or deep notch reaching to base, or separated into spinous and soft-rayed portions with isolated short spines in between. Spines in dorsal fin 11-14; soft rays 9-12. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 9-11. Forked caudal fin, the lobes folding in like scissors. Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 24 (10 + 14). Maximum length to 50 cm. Depth range of adults 100-400 m, usually demersal; Probably all feed on larger zooplankton (Ref. 96673).


Enoplosidae Enoplosidae - (Oldwife) Distribution: southern half of Australia. Unsually large pelvic fins, bearing a strong spine. External head bones smooth. Supramaxilla present. Lower angle of opercle with 2 sharp spines. Silvery body with black vertical bands.


Ephippidae Ephippidae - (Spadefishes, batfishes and scats) Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific; marine, rarely brackish. Anal fin with 3 spines. Compressed laterally and deep-bodied. Mouth small; vomer or palatines toothless; comblike series of large blunt gill rakers on first epibranchial. Omnivores of algae and small invertebrates. Thought to be pelagic spawners. Juveniles of Platax species are popular and unproblematic aquarium species, but grow very fast.


Epigonidae Epigonidae - (Deepwater cardinalfishes) Distribution: Atlantic (incl. Mediterranean), Indian and Pacific Oceans. Differ from apogonids in having usually 25 vertebrae, more than six infraorbitals, rostral cartilage greatly enlarged, and soft dorsal and anal fins covered with scales. Maximum length of 58 cm reached in the deepwater genus Epigonus.


Gempylidae Gempylidae - (Snake mackerels) Usually found in very deep waters. Distribution: tropical and subtropical seas. Body elongate; compressed. Exposed maxilla. Usually with isolated finlets after anal and dorsal fins. Pectoral fin inserted low on body. Pelvic fins lacking or very small. Caudal fin present.


Gerreidae Gerreidae - (Mojarras) Distribution: most tropical seas. Chiefly marine. In brackish water occasionally; rare in freshwater. Very protractile mouth. Head scaly but with smooth upper surface. Dorsal and anal fins with a sheath of scales along base. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Deeply forked tail; 24 vertebrae. Maximum length 35 cm, attained in Gerres filamentosus. Small silvery fishes with highly protrusible mouth. They feed by sorting benthic invertebrates from sand. Foodfishes. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF). Most of the adult species occur in coastal lagoons with sandy or muddy bottoms bordered by mangroves; however, they occasionally enter river mouths (Ref. 93806). Juveniles enter estuaries until they reach maturity; spawning occurs at sea throughout the seasons (Ref. 34363).


Girellidae Girellidae - () Valid family according to Carpenter, 2001. Carpenter, K. 2001. Girellidae, Scorpididae, Microcanthidae, p. 2791-3379. In: The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Vol. 5. K. Carpenter and V. H. Niem (eds.). FAO, Rome. Species will be allocated for the next update.


Glaucosomatidae Glaucosomatidae - (Pearl perches) Distribution: Eastern Indian and Western Pacific (Japan to Australia). Dorsal fin 8 graduated spines, 12-14 soft rays. Anal fin 3 spines, 12 soft rays. Scaled maxilla. Nearly straight lateral line, reaching the tail. Lunate or truncate caudal fin. Maximum length about 90 cm.


Gobiidae Gobiidae - (Gobies) Chiefly marine and brackish, some species are catadromous. Often the most abundant fish in freshwater on oceanic islands. Distribution: mostly tropical and subtropical areas. Pelvic fins fused into an adhesive disc, when well developed. Spinous dorsal present or absent; when present with 2-8 flexible spines and discontinuous with soft dorsal. Cycloid or ctenoid scales almost always present. Prominent head barbels present in some species. To 50 cm maximum length; most species below 10 cm. The largest family of marine fishes (possibly > 2,000). The smallest fishes (and vertebrates) in the world belong to this family. Mostly marine in shallow coastal waters and around coral reefs. Most are cryptic bottom dwelling carnivores of small benthic invertebrates; others are planktivores. Some species have symbiotic relationships with invertebrates (e.g. shrimps) and others are known to remove ecto-parasites from other fishes. Typically nest spawners with non-spherical eggs guarded by the male. Many are popular aquarium fishes. The following subfamilies are recognized: Oxudercinae, Amblyopinae, Sicydiinae, Gobionellinae and Gobiinae. Reported to have 230 genera and around 1,500 species by Hoese and Larson, 2006 (Ref. 75154). Oxudercinae are elongate gobiid fishes, compressed posteriorly; cycloid scales and vary in size from small to large; predorsal scales 0 or as many as 113; head is small to moderate (15-34% SL); eyes located dorsally on head; moderate to wide gape; caninoid teeth, obtusely pointed, or bifid, and uniserialin both jaws (Ref. 92840) Amblyopinae are elongate, mud-dwelling fishes of the Indo-West Pacific region commonly reffered to as "eel gobies" or "worm gobies"; 12 genera and 23 species are currently recognized; usual colors are pink, purple or red; continuous dorsal fin; first spinous and second soft dorsal fins connected by membrane; eyes reduced in size and may have limited function; subdivided into three units based on axial skeletal features: 'Gobioides', 'Taenioides', and 'Trypauchen' (Ref. 92840). Sicydiinae pelvic fins are highly modified into rounded sucking disc; disc has highly branched pelvic fin rays and thickened pelvic fin spines with fleshy pad at distal tip; thick interspinal frenum joins posterior tips of left and right pelvic spines; pelvic spines and first ray separated from remaining four pelvic rays by distinct gap; premaxilla expanded dorsally; small rostral cartilage; palatine bone with long dorsal process that articulates with lateral ethmoid; 4-5 branchiostegal rays; one epural bone and dorsal pterygiophore formula 3-12210 (Ref. 92840). Gobionellinae is characterized by two anterior interorbital pores, two epurals and 3-12210 spinous dorsal pterygiophore pattern (Pezold 1993); possess 25-28 vertebrae and 2 or 3 (occasionally 4) anal pterygiophores before first hemal spine; temperate northern Pacific gobionellines are characterized by a prolifiration of vertebrae however, having counts as high as 42 in some species; two other groups proposed as monophyletic: Mugilogobius group and Stenogobius group (Larson 2001) (Ref. 92840). Males have a unique paired, secretory, accessory gonadal structures (AGS) associated with the testis which is now recognized as a synapomorphy not only for the Gobiidae (Ref. 50987) but for all Gobioidei (Ref. 103907) (Ref. 103904). Tribe Gobiosomatini - ecologically diverse and species rich assemblage of gobies; endemic to western hemisphere; common name American seven-spined gobies; includes over 130 species of gobies in 27 genera (Van Tassell 2011; Van Tassell et al. 2012); occur from Massachusetts to Uruguay in the western Atlantic Ocean, and from the Pacific coast of southern Baja California and Gulf of California to Peru, including far-offshore islands (Isla del Cocos, Isla Malpelo, Galapagos) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (Ref. 95098).


Grammatidae Grammatidae - (Basslets) Tropical. Distribution: western Atlantic. Lateral line interrupted (two segments) or lacking. One spine on pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Dorsal fin spines 11-13. Attains about 10 cm maximum length. Some colorful species used as marine aquarium fishes.


Haemulidae Haemulidae - (Grunts) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Chiefly marine, some brackish, rarely freshwater. Dorsal fin continuous, 9-14 spines, 11-26 soft rays. Anal fin 3 spines, 6-18 soft rays. Small mouth with thick lips. Usually cardiform jaw teeth, with vomer generally toothless. Usually with enlarged chin pores. Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 26 or 27 (10 or 11 + 16). Adults are typically inactive during day when they shelter near or under ledges; they disperse to feed on benthic invertebrates at night. Distinct pairing during breeding producing pelagic eggs with no known parental care (Ref. 205). Pelagic spawners. Juveniles are popular in home aquaria, but adults require a large tank. Maximum length about 60 cm. Important food fishes. Includes the former Inermiidae (Ref. 84214).


Hapalogenyidae Hapalogenyidae - (Barbeled grunters) Family not recognized but only mentioned under Haemulidae in Ref. 58010, p.369. Genus Hapalogenys was formerly in Haemulidae. Suggested new common name for this family in a coming ref. following Ref. 58418.


Harpagiferidae Harpagiferidae - (Spiny plunderfishes) Distribution: Littoral, extending north to subantarctic and south to, for example, southern part of South America and Kerquelen and Macquarie islands. Chin barbel absent; strong spine on opercle and on subopercle; three hypurals; vertebrae 34-37.


Helostomatidae Helostomatidae - (Kissing gourami) Distribution: Thailand to Malay Archipelago. Teeth absent in premaxilla, dentaries, palatine, and pharynx. Lateral lines 2. Lower lateral line starts below the end of the upper line. Spines in dorsal fin 16-18; soft rays 13-16. Anal fin spines 13-15; soft rays 17-19. Scales in lateral line 43-48. Top of head with cycloid scales; ctenoid scales in other locations. Lips with horny teeth. Gillrakers numerous. About 30 cm maximum length. Filter feeder and grazer on benthic algae.


Howellidae Howellidae - (Oceanic basslets) From Prokofiev (2006). Gathers 3 genera from Percichthyidae and Acropomatidae, Howella being often incertae sedis. Suggested new common name for this family in a coming ref. following Ref. 58418.


Icosteidae Icosteidae - (Ragfish) Distribution: North Pacific from Japan to California. Body strongly compressed. Skeletal framework mainly of cartilage, thus unusually flexible. Skin thick and tough. The juveniles and adults differ greatly in appearance and were originally described as different species. The transition to adult form occurs between 40 and 60 cm standard length. Body deep in juveniles, elongate in adults. Eyes small. Mouth terminal and large. Fin spines absent. Dorsal and anal fins single, long, and high, comprising 50-56 and 33-44 soft rays, respectively. Caudal peduncle long and slender. Caudal fin large and paddlelike, rounded in juveniles and emarginate in adults. Pectoral fins fanlike, pedunculate, 20-22 rays. Pelvic fins and scales present in juveniles, absent in adults. Two nostrils, close together toward front of snout, on each side. Lateral line canal single, with keel of minute spines. Teeth uniserial, small, sharp, closely and evenly set; vomerine and palatine teeth absent. Gill membranes separate, free from the isthmus; except joined and attached to the isthmus for a short distance anteriorly. Branchiostegal rays 6 or 7. Gill rakers 7-17 on first arch. Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 66-70. Juvenile light brown blotched yellow and purple, adult dark purplish brown. Attains 213 cm maximum total length. Juveniles occur in shallow water or offshore near the surface; adults near bottom and deep, to 1,420 m. Feeds mainly on jellyfishes but also reported to take cephalopods and small fishes.


Istiophoridae Istiophoridae - (Billfishes) Distribution: most tropical and subtropical waters. Premaxilla and nasal bones produced, forming a spear-like bill or rostrum with a rounded cross-section. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Very narrow pelvic fins. Jaw teeth present. Two keels on each side of caudal peduncle in adults. Dorsal fin extending over much of body length; sometimes resembling a sail. Dorsal fin can be depresssed into a groove. Lateral line persists in life. Vertebrae 24. Maximum length 4 m. Bill used for stunning prey fish. The morphological adaptations required for maintaining high brain and retinal temperatures are discussed in Brock et al. 1993 Science 260:210-214. Very popular as game fish.


Kraemeriidae Kraemeriidae - (Sand darters) Distribution: Indo-Pacific, as far as Hawaii. Rarely brackish or fresh-water. Body elongate and scaleless. Tip of tongue with 2 lobes. Lower jaw jutted with the chin enlarged. Small eyes. Anal and dorsal fins not confluent with caudal fin. Usually 1 dorsal fin with 4-6 weak spines, usually 13-18 soft rays. Pelvic fins usually separate; 1 spine, 5 soft rays. Branchiostegal rays 5. Maximum length about 6 cm. Usually live in sandy shallow waters; many are burrowing with only the head out.


Kuhliidae Kuhliidae - (Aholeholes) Distribution: Indo-Pacific. One freshwater species Kuhlia rupestris. Well-developed scaly sheath on dorsal and anal fins. Dorsal fin with a deep notch; 10 spines, 9-12 soft rays. Anal fin 3 spines, 9-13 soft rays.. Without a scaly pelvic axillary process. Two spines on opercle. Vertebrae 25. Small compressed silvery fishes, in schools in surgy areas by day, dispersed to feed on free-swimming crustaceans at night. Juveniles often in tidepools. Maximum length 50 cm. Assumed to be non-guarders (RF).


Kurtidae Kurtidae - (Nurseryfishes) Small family of two species in the genus Kurtus. Kurtus indicus occurs in coastal areas from the Coromandel Coast of southeast India to China, Indonesia, and Borneo. It occasionally enters estuaries, but is mostly found in marine waters. Kurtus gulliveri is found in northern Australia and southern New Guinea and is more likely to occur in large, turbid rivers and estuaries. Kurtus has a compressed, oblong body with small cycloid scales and a rudimentary anterior lateral line. The opercular bones are very thin. Four spines are present at the angle of the preopercle. The dorsal fin is single with a reduced anterior spinous part followed by soft rays. The back is elevated into a hump. The mouth is large with villiform jaw teeth. The anal fin is long with two anal spines. Kurtus indicus has 31-32 soft anal rays, and K. gulliveri has 44-47 soft anal rays. The pelvic fin has one spine and five rays. The caudal fin is deeply forked. Expanded ribs completely enclose the posterior portion of the swim bladder and partially enclose the anterior portion. The most distinctive feature of this genus is the presence in males of an occipital hook directed anteriorly and downward nearly forming a closed ring. This hook is formed from the supraoccipital and modified dorsal spines; it is used to carry eggs. Females lack a hook. Young males show only a slight protuberance that eventually enlarges as the fish grows. A maximum length of 60 cm has been reported for Kurtus gulliveri.


Kyphosidae Kyphosidae - (Sea chubs) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Dorsal fin 9-16 spines, 11-28 soft rays. Vertebrae 24-28 (in Graus 34). Subfamilies Girellinae and Kyphosinae (except Graus) are herbivorous, feeding mainly on algae; the rest are carnivorous, feeding on benthic invertebrates. Congregate in great numbers for pelagic spawning. Usually found near shore. Foodfish in some areas, trashfish in others. That this family is monophyletic has yet to be established.


Labridae Labridae - (Wrasses) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Protrusible mouth. Most jaw teeth with gaps between them; teeth usually jutting outward. Dorsal fin 8-21 spines (usually less than15), 6-21 soft rays. Anal fin 4-6 spines (often 3), 7-18 soft rays. Cycloid scales, generally large to moderate, 25-80 along the side (may be small and over 100 if small. Lateral line interrupted or continuous. Vertebrae 23-42. Snout elongated in the genus Gomphosus. Size, shape and color very diversified. Most species are sand burrowers; carnivores on benthic invertebrates; also planktivores, and some small species remove ectoparasites of larger fishes. Most species change color and sex with growth, from an initial phase (IP) of both males and females, the latter able to change sex into an often brilliantly colored terminal male phase (TP). Males dominate several females; all Indo-Pacific species are pelagic spawners. Most species do well in aquaria, and young Coris are particularly popular. Maximum length about 2.3 m, many are less than 15 cm, the shortest being 4.5 cm. Medium to large species are important food fishes.


Labrisomidae Labrisomidae - (Labrisomids) Distribution: Atlantic and Pacific. Mainly tropical. Cycloid scales, never small and imbedded; only the anterior edge has radii. Few species scaleless (5 in Stathmonotus, 1 in Neoclinus). Nape, nostril, and above eye often with cirri. Dorsal fin with more spines than soft-rays; some species with only a spinous dorsal fin. Viviparity occurs in the genera Xenomeda and Starksia. Male intromittent organ present only in Starksia. Feed on small benthic invertebrates (Ref. 7463). For the most part are generalized blennioids that do not fall within the limits of the other well-defined families; relationships within this family unknown and essentially unhypothesized based on morphological characters (Ref. 94100). Benthic inhabitants usually dwelling in holes and restricted to rocky, shelly, or coral reefs in shallow water, a few species in marine grass beds or sponges; a few species in deep water. The larvae, which are scaleless and often cirriless, are often misidentified as Blenniidae. The presence of more spines than rays in the dorsal fin of all labrisomids is an aid to identification. Labrisomids have no commercial importance in FAO Area 31. They are, however, very abundant in certain localities and some of the larger species are caught, usually on hook-and-line, around jetties. They are edible, but rarely consumed (Ref.52855).


Lactariidae Lactariidae - (False trevallies) Distribution: Indo-Pacific. Dorsal fins 2. Soft-rayed parts of dorsal and anal fins covered with deciduous scales (all scales easily shed). Upper and lower jaws each with 2 small front canine teeth at front. 24 vertebrae. Single genus, Lactarius. [Second species synonym of first (Ref. 27116:1714)].


Lateolabracidae Lateolabracidae - (Asian seaperches) Distribution: Western Pacific. Common name for this family extracted from Ref. 58010.


Latidae Latidae - (Lates perches) Synonym of Centropomidae; Greenwood, 1976; Li et al., 2011 Li, C., R. Betancur-R., W. L. Smith, and G. Orti. 2011. Monophyly and interrelationships of Snook and Barramundi (Centropomidae sensu Greenwood) and five new markers for fish phylogenetics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 60:463-71. Distribution: Africa, Indian and Pacific Ocean. Mainly freshwater. Perch-like fishes with concave snout profiles. Branchiostegal 7 rays. Important food fishes. Maximum length about 2 m. Subfamily Centropomidae: Latinae raised to family level (Ref. 54714).


Latridae Latridae - (Trumpeters) Distribution: coastal southern Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and southern Atlantic. Dorsal fin 14-24 spines, 23-40 soft rays. Anal fin 18-35 soft rays. Vomerine teeth present or absent. Valued as game fish and for their good taste.


Leiognathidae Leiognathidae - (Slimys, slipmouths, or ponyfishes) Mainly marine; some species enter freshwater. Distribution: Indo-West Pacific; one species entered the Mediterranean through the Suez canal. Strongly compressed, slimy body. Scales small. Head naked, bearing bony ridges on upper surface. Gill membranes united with isthmus. Mouth small and very protractile. No teeth on palate. Pseudobranchiae absent. Dorsal fin continuous with 8 or 9 spines that are somewhat elevated, in the anterior portion; posterior portion with 14-16 soft rays. Three spines on anal fin. Dorsal and anal fin spines with a locking mechanism. A scaly sheath at the base of dorsal and anal fins. Vertebrae 22-23. All species have esophageal luminous organs. Also noted for their production of mucus (see common name). Common in shallow coastal waters and tidal creeks where they feed on benthic invertebrates. Easily caught by trawls or beach seines; important artisanal food fish.


Leptobramidae Leptobramidae - (Beachsalmon) Coastal marine and brackish water; occasionally entering rivers. Distribution: southern New Guinea, Queensland, and Western Australia. Body deep; compressed. Maxillae extending far behind eye. Serrate preorbital. Relatively small eyes; adipose lid present. Dorsal fin short, originating behind middle of body. Four spines in dorsal fin; soft rays 16-18. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 26-30. Scales along lateral line about 75-77; the tubes long and narrow. Short gill rakers, usually 10. To about 35 cm maximum length.


Leptoscopidae Leptoscopidae - (Southern sandfishes) Distribution: Australia and New Zealand. Eyes dorsally located or nearly dorsal. Moderately oblique mouth. Lips with fringes. Lateral line along mid-flanks. Body scaled. Interpelvic space wide. Long dorsal and anal fins. Occasionally in estuaries or lower reach of rivers.


Lethrinidae Lethrinidae - (Emperors or scavengers) Distribution: Tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific (only Lethrinus atlanticus occurs in the Atlantic, off West Africa). Lethrinids are bottom-feeding, carnivorous, coastal fishes, ranging primarily on or near reefs. They typically feed primarily at night on benthic invertebrates or fishes, those with molariform teeth mainly on hard-shelled invertebrates. Lethrinids can be solitary or schooling and do not appear to be territorial. They often form large aggregations for pelagic spawning. Protogynous hermaphroditism (sex reversal from female to male) has been demonstrated in several species of Lethrinus. Dorsal fin with 10 spines and 9-10 soft rays. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 8-10. Accessory subpelvic keel absent. Subocular shelf small. All but the smallest emperors are esteemed food fishes, although an iodoform odor is attributed to individuals of some species when cooked (Ref. 4537).


Lobotidae Lobotidae - (Tripletails) Distribution: most tropical seas. No teeth on vomer and palatine. Rounded caudal fin. Head triangular. Anal and soft dorsal with a rounded lobe posteriorly making the fish look triple-tailed. Juveniles are said to float sideways like leaves as a form of camouflage. To about 1 m maximum length. Assumed to be pelagic spawners (RF).


Lutjanidae Lutjanidae - (Snappers) Marine; rarely estuarine. Some species do enter freshwater for feeding. Tropical and subtropical: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Dorsal fin continuous or slightly notched. Spines in dorsal fin 10-12; soft rays 10-17. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 7-11. Pelvic fins originating just behind pectoral base. Mouth moderate to large; terminal. Jaws bearing enlarged canine teeth. Palatine teeth small. Vomer usually with small teeth. Maxilla covered by preorbital with the mouth closed. Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 24 (10 + 14). To about 1 m maximum length. Most species are predators of crustaceans and fishes, several are planktivores. Most do well in aquaria, but grow too fast. Valued as food fish but sometimes a cause of ciguatera. Generally demersal, down to depths of about 450 m.


Luvaridae Luvaridae - (Louvar) Oceanic. Distribution: tropical and subtropical waters. Blunt snout. Gill membranes broadly united to isthmus. Origin of dorsal fin moving posteriorly with growth. Vertebrae 22, with the last 2 vertebrae fused. Maximum length 1.8 m. High fecundity. A 1.7 m Luvaris imperialis was reported to have an estimated 47.5 million eggs. Nonschooling.


Malacanthidae Malacanthidae - (Tilefishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Depth range 10-500 m (usually 50-200 m). One species (Malacanthus latovittatus) may be found in both marine and brackish water (Goldie River, New Guinea).(Ref. 8991). One relatively long dorsal fin; total dorsal fin rays 22-64. Relatively long anal fin; 1 or 2 weak spines; soft rays 14-56. Top of head with or without cutaneous ridge. Operculum with one blunt or sharp spine. Branchiostegal rays 6. Truncate, double emarginate, emarginate to forked caudal fin. Vertebrae 24, 25, or 27 (precaudal 10 or 11). Larvae with elaborate spines (elongated and serrate) on the head and scale (Ref. 8991). All species live in a burrow, some in a large rubble mound of their own construction, in pairs or colonies. They feed on benthic invertebrates or zoopankton. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF). Most aquarium specimens are collected with poison and soon die. According to Dooley 1978 (Ref. 8991), the tilefishes are comprised of two morphologically different and evolutionary distinct groups and are distinct enough to be separate families [Branchiostegidae: with genera Branchiostegus, Lopholatilus, Caulolatilus and Malacanthidae: with genera Hoplolatilus and Malacanthus].


Menidae Menidae - (Moonfish) Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. Disclike body; sharp-breasted. Dorsal contour almost horizontal. Dorsal soft rays 43-45; spineless. Anal soft rays 30-33; spineless. First pelvic fin ray in adult very elongated.


Microdesmidae Microdesmidae - (Wormfishes) Distribution: tropical seas, rarely in brackish and freshwater. Body elongated to anguilliform, strongly compressed. Tip of tongue not lobed. Scales cycloid, small, and embedded in body. Eyes lateral. Caudal fin separate or confluent with dorsal and anal fins. To 30 cm maximum length. Inhabits shallow waters: coral reefs to muddy estuaries and tidepools; often burrowing in sand and mud; hover above the substrate to feed on zooplankton. Eggs are deposited in the burrows and presumably guarded by the parents; larvae are pelagic. Dartfishes are hardy in the aquarium, unless caught with poison.


Monodactylidae Monodactylidae - (Moonyfishes or fingerfishes) Distribution: west Africa, Indo-Pacific. Chiefly marine and brackish; occasionally entering freshwater. Body deep and highly compressed. Pelvic fins present in juveniles, lacking or vestigial in adults in Monodactylus. Dorsal fin with the base long and scaly; 5-8 short and graduated spines. Anal fin base long; 3 spines. Scales cycloid or ctenoid. Often silvery. Feed on small fish and invertebrates. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF). In large schools in river mouths. Common freshwater aquarium fish.


Moronidae Moronidae - (Temperate basses) Distribution: North America (Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico drainages, introduced elsewhere), Europe, and northern Africa. Coastal areas. Dorsal fins 2; D1 8-10 spines, D2 1 spine, 10-13 soft rays. Anal fin 3 spines, 9-12 soft rays. Operculum 2 spines. Lateral line reaching almost the posterior margin of caudal fin. Auxillary row of lateral line scales on the caudal fin above and below the main row. Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 25.


Mullidae Mullidae - (Goatfishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, rarely in brackish waters. Elongated body. Dorsal fins far apart. First dorsal fin with 6-8 spines; second dorsal with one spine and 8-9 soft rays, shorter than anal fin. Spines in anal fin 1 or 2, with 5-8 soft rays. Forked caudal fin. Vertebrae 24. Chin with 2 long barbels, which contain chemosensory organs and are used to probe the sand or holes in the reef for benthic invertebrates or small fish. Many brightly colored. Pelagic spawners. Up to 60 cm maximum length. Valued as food fish. Not popular for aquaria, but do well in right settings. Mullus (Latin) = mullet. Habitat: sand-associated, shallow habitats (Ref. 95469).


Nandidae Nandidae - (Asian leaffishes) Distribution: Southern Asia. Head and mouth large, the latter very protractile. Continuous dorsal fin. Rounded caudal fin. Lateral line incomplete or lacking. No scaly axillary process in pelvic fin. Many species are fierce predators. Restricted to the genus Nandus (Ref. 245). Teeth present from the ectopterygoid. Maxillary process on dentigerous process of premaxilla present. Preopercle and infraorbitals with serrated margins. Infraorbital ossicle next to lachrymal (infraorbital 2) present. Vertebrae 13 + 10 = 23. Larvae with numerous individual attachment cells scattered over the yolk sac. Micropylar areas with adhesive filaments restricted to circular area, forming a dense carpet in Nandus (Ref. 46238).


Nematistiidae Nematistiidae - (Roosterfish) Tropical. Distribution: Eastern Pacific from southernmost California to Peru. Body compressed. Scales small; cycloid. Lateral line with about 120-130 scales in irregular series. Scutes absent along lateral line. Spinous dorsal fin with 7 very long spines, normally resting in a groove; second dorsal with a single spine and 25-28 soft rays. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 15-17. Otophysic connection unique, with the swim bladder entering through large foramina in basioccipital and contacts inner ear. Vertebrae 24 (10 + 14).


Nemipteridae Nemipteridae - (Threadfin breams, Whiptail breams) Distribution: Tropical and sub-tropical Indo-West Pacific. Dorsal fin with 10 spines; soft rays 9. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 7 (Nemipterus virgatus with 8). A filament off upper lobe of caudal fin in some species. Well developed subocular shelf and accessory pelvic keel. Intercalar present. Carnivorous fishes that feed mainly on benthic small fishes, cephalopods, crustaceans and polychaetes; some species are planktivores. Protogynous hermaphroditism is reported for some species of Scolopsis. Not generally kept in aquaria, but potentially hardy. Threadfin breams are an important component of commercial and artisanal fisheries.


Niphonidae Niphonidae - () Valid family according to Smith and Craig, 2007 (Ref. 87176). Species will be allocated for the next update.


Nomeidae Nomeidae - (Driftfishes) Distribution: tropical and subtropical seas. Adults with pelvic fins. First dorsal fin with 9-12 slender spines. Second dorsal fin with 0-3 spines; soft rays 15-32. Anal fin spines 1-3; soft rays 14-30. About 1 m maximum length.


Nototheniidae Nototheniidae - (Cod icefishes) Chiefly marine; rare in brackish water. Distribution: high latitudes of Southern Hemisphere and coastal Antarctic. Body with scales. Mouth protrusible. A fold of gill membranes across the isthmus. Spinous dorsal fin present, with 3-11 spines (the second with 25-42 soft rays). One to three lateral lines. Vertebrae 45-59. Most species benthic, some pelagic and some cryopelagic. Absence of a swim bladder compensated for by lipids and low mineral content of bones, leading to near neutral buoyancy.


Odacidae Odacidae - (Cales and weed-whitings) Coastal. Distribution: Australia and New Zealand. Jaw teeth fused or parrotlike. Spines in dorsal fin 14-23. One spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 4 (one species lacking pelvic fin). Scales usually of small to moderate size. Lateral line with about 30-87 scales.


Odontobutidae Odontobutidae - (Freshwater sleepers) Distribution: freshwater streams of northern Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan, and Russia. May be distinguished from other goboid families by the following characters: scapula large, excluding proximal radial from contact with cleithrum; six branchiostegal rays; no lateral line. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Opistognathidae Opistognathidae - (Jawfishes) Distribution: western and central Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific (Gulf of California to Panama). Large-mouthed. Cycloid scales with head naked. Pelvic fins more anterior than pectorals; 1 spine, 5 soft rays (inner 3 weak and branched, outer 2 stout and unbranched). Continuous dorsal fin 9-12 spines. High lateral line running along dorsal, terminating at the middle of dorsal fin (a species with both ventral and dorsal lateral lines). Palatine toothless. Species of Stalix with transversly forked anterior spines in dorsal fin. Mostly small fishes with enlarged head and mouth and narrow tapering body. Live in burrows in sand which they enter tail-first. Feed on benthic and planktonic invertebrates. Mouthbrooders.


Oplegnathidae Oplegnathidae - (Knifejaws) Distribution: Japan, southern half of Australia to Tasmania, Galapagos and Peru, and South Africa. Teeth fused forming a parrotlike beak in adults. Low spinous dorsal fin in adults. Spinous and soft dorsal fin about the same height and are countinuous in juveniles. Spines in dorsal fin 11 or 12; soft rays 11-22. Three spines in anal fin; 11-16 soft rays. Very small scales. About 0.9 m maximum length. Feed on barnacles and mollusks. Foodfishes. Usually not kept in aquaria. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF).


Osphronemidae Osphronemidae - (Gouramies) Since FoW3 (Nelson 1994; Ref. 7463), with one genus Osphronemus and 3 spp., the content of the family has changed: - It includes its Belontidae with 3 subfamilies. - In addition, the Family Luciocephalidae has been merged with the subfamily Belontidae: Trichogastrinae to form the subfamily Osphronemidae: Luciocephalinae (Britz et al., 1995: Ref. 37504; Britz, 2001: CAS_Ref_No 25717). In CoF2005 (Eschmeyer, 2005; Ref. 54621), which is followed, and since CoF 2004 (Eschmeyer, 2004; Ref. 50838), the family has 4 subfamilies: Osphroneminae (giant gouramies) Belontiinae (combtail gouramies) Macropodinae (Siamese fighting fishes, paradisefishes) Luciocephalinae (gouramies and pikehead) The following definition needs to be reviewed. Distribution: Pakistan and India to Malay Archipelago and Korea. Teeth absent on prevomer and palatine. Protractile upper jaw. Lateral line single, complete and continuous in Osphroneminae; vestigial in other subfamilies, when present. Maximum dorsal soft rays 10; in Osphroneminae dorsal fin spines 11-13; soft rays 11-13, anal fin spines 9-12; soft rays 16-22, all scales ctenoid, about 80 cm maximum length. Pelvic fins with an elongate ray in many species. Some species are oral brooders and others build bubble nests. Other family name = Polyacanthidae (Ref. 7463). CoF 2003 (Eschmeyer, 2003: Ref. 46206) Four subfamilies: Osphroneminae, Belontiinae, Macropodinae and Trichogastrinae. FoW3 (Nelson, 1994: Ref. 7463); CoF 2002 (Eschmeyer, 2002; Ref. 36739). Family Belontiidae containing the 3 latter subfamilies above.


Ostracoberycidae Ostracoberycidae - (Shellskin alfonsinos) Eastern and northern Indian and western Pacific Oceans. Prominent spine extending back from lower limb of preopercle; two separate dorsal fins; 25 vertebrae. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Parascorpididae Parascorpididae - (Jutjaws) Indo-Pacific. Mouth large with lower jaw projecting forward; no incisiform teeth; pelvics well behind pectorals; 27 vertebrae. Maximum length 60 cm. Usually found near shore. Number of species unclear. Known only from South Africa.


Pempheridae Pempheridae - (Sweepers) Distribution: western Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Body deep; compressed. Maxillae not extending beyond center of eye. Smooth preorbital. Eyes big, lacking adipose lid. Dorsal fin short, with origin before middle of body. Dorsal fin with 4-7 graduated spines; soft rays 7-12. Anal fin with usually 3 (very rarely 2) spines and 17-45 soft rays. Scales along lateral line usually 40-82, extending onto caudal fin; the tubes usually short and wide. Long gillrakers, usually 25-31. A few species with luminiscent organs. Pyloric caeca 9 or 10. Swim bladder present in all but one species (Pempheris poeyi). Vertebrae 25 (10 + 15). To about 30 cm maximum length. Aggregate in caves by day and disperse to feed on zooplankton at night. Assumed to be pelagic spawners (RF). Not popular for aquariums. [Eschmeyer 1998 lists 5 nominal species for Parapriacanthus of which 2 are valid, 2 are synonyms, and one has no type material; thus, number of species in this genus is probably 2, not 5 (RF)]


Pentacerotidae Pentacerotidae - (Armorheads) Distribution: Indo-Pacific and southwestern Atlantic. Body moderately deep (Pentaceropsis) to very deep (Pentaceros); strongly compressed. Head bones exposed, rough and striated. Supramaxilla lacking. Dorsal fin having 4-14 strong spines; 9-29 soft rays. With 2-5 strong spines in anal fin; soft rays 7-13. Large pelvic fins. One long and strong spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Scales small. Primary on deep slopes, seamounts, and pelagic; shallow primarily in temperate areas. Foodfishes. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF).


Percichthyidae Percichthyidae - (Temperate perches) Species of this family are distributed in Australia and South America (primarily Argentina and Chile). Rarely brackish. Complete and continuous lateral line. Dorsal fins continuous, with or without a notch; spines 7-12 (1-3 in Gadopsis bispinosus); soft rays 8-38. Anal fin spines 3; soft rays 7-13 (16-20 in Gadopsis). Scales ctenoid, secondarily cycloid. Vertebrae 25-36 (40-50 in Gadopsis). Dioecious. Poorly defined group, its composition is subject to change. Eschmeyer (1998) recognized 14 valid genera. Percilia species are considered to be under its own family Perciliidae (Arratia, pers. comm.).


Percidae Percidae - (Perches) Distribution: Northern Hemisphere. Dorsal fins separate or narrowly joined. Anal spines 1 or 2, the second usually weak. Pelvic fins thoracic. A single spine and 5 soft rays in the pelvic fin. Branchiostegal rays 5-8. Branchiostegal membrane separate from isthmus. Vertebrae 32-50. Maximum length up to 100 cm TL (reported for Sander lucioperca, Ref. 35388). Some species enter estuaries.


Perciliidae Perciliidae - (Southern basses) Freshwater. Chile. Common name for this family encoded from Ref. 58010.


Percophidae Percophidae - (Duckbills) Distribution: Atlantic, Indo-West Pacific, and southeastern Pacific. Head depressed. Usually big-eyed. Interorbital width small. Spinous dorsal absent; if present, separate from soft dorsal. Anal fin may have 1 spine. Pelvic fin 1 spine, 5 soft rays. Pelvic fins widely separate.


Pholidae Pholidae - (Gunnels) Distribution: North Atlantic, Arctic and North Pacific. Body elongate and compressed. One dorsal fin, about two times longer than anal fin and extending from head to caudal fin. Dorsal fin with 73-100 stiff spines, anal fin with 1-3 spines in front of 32-53 soft rays; both fins reaching or confluent with base of caudal fin. Caudal fin rounded. Anal fin long, but shorter relative to body length than in pricklebacks. Pectoral fins absent in some gunnel species, minute or very small in others. Pelvic fins rudimentary, consisting of 1 spine and 1 ray; or absent, including pelvic girdle. No fleshy cirri on head or body. One pair of nostrils. Body covered with tiny, inconspicuous, mucus-covered cycloid scales. Mechanosensory canals of head opening through pores typically constant in number: nasal 2, occipital 3, interorbital 1, postorbital 6, suborbital 6, preopercular 5, and mandibular 4. Body lateral line represented by mediolateral row of superficial neuromasts, generally not discernible in preserved material. Teeth small and conical. Gill membranes broadly joined and free from the isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 5 or 6. Pyloric caeca absent. Ribs absent. Abdominal vertebrae with parapophyses united, forming hemal arches. Vertebrae 80-105. Coloration cryptic, from yellow and brown to red or green, often with spots, blotches, and bands. Attains total length of about 46 cm. Mainly inhabits rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal areas, especially among kelp and other macroalgae; often found under rocks or in tide pools in the intertidal zone. Feeds on small crustaceans and mollusks.


Pholidichthyidae Pholidichthyidae - (Convict blenny) Distribution: southwesternmost Philippines to Solomon Islands. Anguilliform. A nostril to each side of head. Scaleless. Pelvic fins below or a little before pectoral base. One weak spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 2 or 3. Caudal fin confluent with anal and dorsal fins. Soft rays in dorsal fin 70-79. Anal soft rays 55-62. Pectoral fin rays 15. Lower pharyngeal bones coalesced into one. Interorbital area with septal bone. Vertebrae 71-79 (22-26=48-56).


Pinguipedidae Pinguipedidae - (Sandperches) Distribution: Atlantic side of South America and Africa, Indo-Pacific (as far down to New Zealand, to Hawaii and off Chile). Pelvic fin insertion below or before pectoral base. Truncate to deeply lunate caudal fin. Branched rays in caudal fin 13-15. Dorsal fin with 4-5 spines and 19-26 soft rays. Benthic carnivores of small invertebrates and fishes. Protogynous hermaphrodites; territorial and haremic; pelagic spawners (Ref. 7463).


Plesiopidae Plesiopidae - (Roundheads) Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. Elongate fishes with large mouths and large eyes. Third branchiostegal ray extending farther posteriorly than adjacent rays resulting in a projection on the margin of the branchiostegal membrane (except in Calloplesiops); lateral line incomplete or disjunct. Feed on small crustaceans and fishes. Maximum length about 20 cm. Two subfamilies, Plesiopinae and Acanthoclininae. Note that Plesiopinae may be paraphyletic (Mooi and Gill, 2004; Ref. 53585). Includes Notograptidae (Notograptus with 4 species) in Acanthoclininae (Mooi and Gill, 2004; Ref. 53585).


Polycentridae Polycentridae - (Leaffishes) Distribution: Southern America. Small fishes, reaching about 6-8 cm SL. Dorsal fin has 16-18 spines, 7-13 rays. Anal fin 12-13 spines, 7-14 rays. Lateral line absent. Head and mouth large, the latter extremely protractile. Continuous dorsal fin. Pectorals and soft parts of the dorsal and anal fins are highly transparent and are the only fins that move when approaching prey. Exhibit male parental care of eggs and larvae; egg clutch deposited under leaves of aquatic plants (Monocirrhus) or at the small crevices (Polycentrus). This group has never been thoroughly revised, and it is possible that there are more than one species in each genus.


Polynemidae Polynemidae - (Threadfins) Chiefly marine and brackish. Some riverine. Distribution: all tropical and subtropical seas. Mouth inferior. Pectoral fin with 2 sections. Upper section of pectoral fin with the rays attached; the lower section having 3-7 (except in Polistonemus with 14 or 15) long free rays. Spinous and soft dorsal fins far apart. Pelvics subabdominal. One spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Deeply forked caudal fin. Vertebrae 24 or 25. Reaches 1.8 m maximum length, reported for Eleutheronema tetradactylum. Feed on benthic invertebrates of sandy to muddy bottoms. Few species near reefs. Foodfishes. Assumed to be pelagic spawners (RF).


Polyprionidae Polyprionidae - (Wreckfishes) Opercle with two rounded spines. Lateral line complete and continuous. Pelvic fin with one spine and five soft rays. This description needs to be checked and completed.


Pomacanthidae Pomacanthidae - (Angelfishes) Tropical Atlantic, Indian, and (mainly western) Pacific. Strongly compressed body. Angle of preopercle with a strong spine. Three spines in anal fin. Many species have an elongate extension on hind margin of soft dorsal and anal fins. Caudal fin rounded to strongly lunate with 15 branched rays. Vertebrae 24 (10+14). Striking coloration, markedly different between juveniles and adults of many species. In shallow waters of less than 20 m deep, very seldom below 50 m; generally near coral reefs. Social organizations in this group vary from monogamy, harems, promiscousity, and lekking (Ref. 38726). Several species are protogynous hermaphrodites engaging in 'haremic' social system. Pelagic spawners. Species of Centropyge feed primarily on filamentous algae and species of Genicanthus feed primarily on zooplankton; most others feed on sponges, invertebrates, algae and fish eggs. Most species do well in the aquarium, but some food specialists are difficult to maintain. Poma- = operculum, acanth- (gr.) = spine. Three basic feeding styles: predation on sessile invertebrates, herbivory and planktivory (Ref. 38503).


Pomacentridae Pomacentridae - (Damselfishes) Chiefly marine; rare in brackish water. All tropical seas, mainly Indo-Pacific. One nostril on each side of head; double nostrils in some species of Chromis and Dascyllus. Body usually deep and compressed. Small mouth. Incomplete and interrupted lateral line. Anal fin with usually 2 spines, very rarely 3. No palatine teeth. About 35 cm maximum length. Coloration variable with individuals and with locality for the same species. Many species are highly territorial herbivores, omnivores, or planktivores. Damselfishes lay elliptical demersal eggs that are guarded by the males. Included are the anemonefishes (Amphiprioninae), which live in close association with large sea anemones. Damsels are among the hardiest aquariumfishes, but some species are extremely aggressive. Poma- = opercle, centron = spine, (refers to pointed margin of opercle); amphi- (gr.) = on both sides, prion = saw, (refers to serrate opercles)


Pomatomidae Pomatomidae - (Bluefishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Dorsal fins 2; D1 7-8 spines; D2 1 spine, 13-28 soft rays. Anal fin 2-3 spines, 12-27 soft rays. Soft-rays of dorsal and anal fins scaly. Preopercle bearing a membrane flap over the subopercle. Pectorals with a black blotch at base. Vertebrae 26.


Priacanthidae Priacanthidae - (Bigeyes or catalufas) Tropical and subtropical Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Eyes very big, with a brilliant reflective layer (tapetum lucidum). Mouth big and superior (strongly oblique). Dorsal fin spines usually 10; soft rays 10-15. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 9-16. Caudal fin slightly emarginate to rounded. Sixteen principal rays in caudal fin (2 unbranched). Inner rays of pelvic fin attached to body by a membrane. Scales very rough with integral spines, usually bright red in color. Epibenthic and generally associated with rock formations or coral reefs; a few species are often trawled in more open areas; usually carnivorous and nocturnal. Eggs, larvae and early juvenile stages are pelagic. Typically less than 30 cm TL, but largest species attains more than 50 cm maximum length. Used as foodfish.


Pristolepididae Pristolepididae - ()


Pseudaphritidae Pseudaphritidae - (Catadromous icefishes) Freshwater, brackish, and marine. Southern Australia (including Tasmania). Common name for this family encoded from Ref. 58010.


Pseudochromidae Pseudochromidae - (Dottybacks) Distribution: Indo-Pacific. Marine, rarely brackish. One spine on pelvic fin. Pelvic fin insertion below or before pectoral fin base. Lateral line variable (interrupted or continuous in some). Attains about 50 cm maximum length in Congrogadinae; mostly below 11 cm. Small, often brilliantly colored elongate fishes. Most species remain near crevices or among rubble. They feed on small invertebrates and fishes. The male guards a ball of eggs deposited by the female. Some species are mouthbrooders.


Ptilichthyidae Ptilichthyidae - (Quillfish) Distribution: Northern North Pacific. Body extremely slender and elongate; dorsal and anal fins long and tall giving the fish the appearance of a bird's wing feather, or writing quill. Head small, 4-7% of body length, with a broad fleshy appendage at the symphysis of the lower jaw. Dorsal fin starts at nape and comprises 79-90 isolated, low spines followed by 130-157 soft rays. Anal fin begins far forward (at about 30% of standard length) with 166-196 soft rays. Dorsal and anal fins confluent with much reduced caudal fin and, with growth of fish, fleshy extension of tail which becomes relatively longer and almost filamentous. Pectoral fins rounded, with 11-13 rays. Pelvic fins and girdle absent. One pair of nostrils (posterior absent). Scales cycloid, very small and scattered; or absent. Mechanosensory canals of the head reduced, remaining canals with few pores: nasal 1, interorbital 1, postorbital 1, preopercular 3, mandibular 2. Trunk lateral line canal absent, superficial neuromasts presumed present. Jaw teeth closely set, uniserial, with sharp conical tips; vomerine and palatine teeth absent. Gill membranes broadly united, free from the isthmus. Gill rakers as low, stout nubs. Branchiostegal rays 5-7. Pyloric caeca and swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 222-240. Yellow or orange to greenish gray, somewhat translucent; dark streak along body and others on head in preserved specimens. Attains up to 39 cm length not including caudal filament. Found at depths to 360 m or more, typically at shallower depths over the middle and inner continental shelf. May burrow in sand and mud during the day, but their daytime behavior is not known with certainty. Migrate at night to the surface to feed and are attracted by lights to docks and boats.


Rachycentridae Rachycentridae - (Cobia) Distribution: Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. Elongate body. Head depressed. Six to nine short free spines preceeding the long dorsal fin. Spines in dorsal fin 1-3; soft rays 26-33. Anal fin long. Anal spines 2 or 3; soft rays 22-28. Body with 3 dark lateral stripes. To 1.5 m maximum length. Feed on crustaceans, fishes, and squids. Assumed to be a pelagic spawner (RF). An excellent food and gamefish.


Rhyacichthyidae Rhyacichthyidae - (Loach gobies) Distribution: Indo-Australian Archipelago, Philippines, China, and Solomon Islands. All amphidromous (Keith et al. in press 2014). Compressed tail. Depressed head. Eyes small. Upper lip fleshy. Interpelvic space wide. Broad pectoral fins; rays 21 or 22. With an adhesive or sucking disc comprised of the lower surface of head, anterior part of the body, and the paired fins. Dorsal fins quite apart. First dorsal with 7 weak spines; second dorsal with 1 spine and 8 or 9 soft rays. One weak spine in anal fin; 8 or 9 soft rays. About 35-40 ctenoid scales in lateral line. Well developed lateral line system on head and body. Lunate caudal fin. About 32 cm maximum length. Further characterized by the following primitive characteristics: complete lateral line, with canal pores in grooved scales on the side of the body; presence of infraorbital and supratemporal lateral canals and pores in one genus, Rhyacichthys, absent in Protogobius; cephalic portion of lateral line canal continues with the body lateral line in Rhyacichthys, not in Protogobius, where there is a break above pectoral fin base; preoperculum broadened and reaches symplectic in Rhyacichthys while two bones barely meet in Protogobius; presence of two infraorbital bones, lacrimal plus one infraorbital; metapterygoid reaches toward quadrate and not incontact with endopterygoid; broad and stout endopterygoid; well-developed scapula and extends dorsally to separate uppermost pectoral radial from the cleithrum; presence of dorsal postcleithrum; presence of three epurals (shared with Terateleotris); small dorsal and ventral procurrent catilages in the caudal fin and do not support anterior unsegmented rays (Ref. 92840).


Scaridae Scaridae - (Parrotfishes) Chiefly tropical. Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Jaw teeth fused or parrotlike. Spines in dorsal fin 9; soft rays 10. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 9. One spine in pelvic; soft rays 5. Caudal fin with 11 branched rays. Scales large; cycloid. Lateral line with usually 22-24 scales. Vertebrae 25. Herbivorous, usually scraping algae from dead coral substrates. Bits of rock eaten with the algae are crushed into sand and ground with the algae to aid in digestion, making parrotfish some of the most important producers of sand on coral reefs. At night, some species rest enveloped in their mucoid secretion. Sex change seems a common occurrence, with an initial phase (IP) of both males and females, and the latter changing into a brilliantly colored male terminal phase (TP). Terminal males dominate several females; pelagic spawners. Many species could be identified by their live coloration but this may be lost in preservation, or can vary between juveniles and adults and with sex change. Important food fishes. Difficult to maintain in aquaria as the fused teeth need to constantly graze dead coral rock in order to keep from growing too long.


Scatophagidae Scatophagidae - (Scats) Distribution: Indo-Pacific. Compressed and deep-bodied like butterflyfishes. Mouth non-protrusible. Pelvics with axillary process. Deep notch on dorsal fin. First spine in dorsal fin procumbent. Spines in anal fin 4. Sixteen branched rays in caudal fin. Vertebrae 23 (11 + 12). To about 35 cm maximum length. Feed on algae and feces. Commonly kept in freshwater aquaria.


Schindleriidae Schindleriidae - (Infantfishes) Oceanic. Small, neotenic. Pronephros functional, body transparent, many cartilage and dermal bones do not develop. Unbranched dorsal fin rays 15-22. Anal fin rays 11-17. Pectoral fin rays 11-18. Caudal fin with 13 principal rays. Branchiostegal rays 5, short. Vertebrae 31-44. Vertebral column with rodlike terminal section. Maximum length about 2 cm. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Sciaenidae Sciaenidae - (Drums or croakers) Drums or croakers are distributed in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Dorsal fin long, having a deep notch between the spinous and soft-rayed parts, but the parts rarely separate. Spinous part with 6-13 spines; the soft-rayed part with 1 spine and usually 20-35 soft rays. Anal fin having 1 or 2 usually weak spines; soft rays 6-13. Lateral line reaching end of caudal fin. Slightly emarginate to rounded caudal fin. Opercle with the upper bony edge forked. Gill opening with a bony flap above it. Some species with 1 barbel or a patch of small barbels on chin. Large cavernous canals in head. Snout and lower jaw with conspicuous pores. Vomer and palatine toothless. Swim bladder usually having many branches and used as a resonating chamber. Exceptionally large otoliths. Vertebrae 24-29. Bottom dwelling carnivores, feeding on benthic invertebrates and small fishes. Juveniles are popular aquarium fishes, but difficult to maintain. Eggs are spherical, transparent, and pelagic (Ref. 240).


Scombridae Scombridae - (Mackerels, tunas, bonitos) Distribution: tropical and subtropical seas. Body elongate and fusiform, moderately compressed in some genera. Snout pointed, premaxilla beaklike, free from nasal bones which are separated by the ethmoid bone; mouth large; teeth in jaws strong, moderate, or weak; no true canines; palate and tongue may bear teeth. The 2 dorsal fins separate and depressible into grooves with 5-12 finlets behind second dorsal and anal fins; first dorsal fin with 9-27 rays, origin well behind the head. Pectoral fins high on body. Pelvic fins moderate or small with 6 fin rays, placed below the pectoral fins. Caudal fin deeply forked with supporting caudal rays completely covering hypural plate. At least 2 small keels on each side of caudal fin base, a larger keel in between on caudal peduncle in more advanced species. Lateral line simple. Vertebrae 31-66. Body covered with small to moderate scales or a scaly corselet developed (area behind head and around pectoral fins covered with large thick scales) and rest of body naked or covered with tiny scales. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Thunnus and close relatives with a specialized vascular system for heat exchange; the evolution of this and related adaptations for endothermy are discussed in Block et al. 1993 (Ref. 11221). Primarily swift, epipelagic predators; some species occur in coastal waters, others far from shore. Mackerels (Scomber and Rastrelliger) filter plankton with their long gill rakers. Spanish mackerels, bonitos and tunas feed on larger prey, including small fishes, crustaceans and squids. The main predators of smaller scombrids are other predacious fishes, particularly large tunas and billfises. Dioecious and most display little or no sexual dimorphism in structure or color pattern. Females of many species attain larger sizes than maels. Batch spawning of most species takes place in tropical and subtropical waters, frequently inshore. Eggs are pelagic and hatch into planktonic larvae. Among the most important of commercial and sport fishes. [Thunninae=ISSCAAP 36; Scombrinae=ISSCAAP 37]. Also Ref. 50681. According to the recent phylogenies (Ref. 58009), two subfamilies can be recognized: - Gasterochismatinae with one species Gasterochisma melampus. - Scombrinae: divided currently in four tribes (Ref. 58010), only Scombrini are supported by molecular data; more research is needed for Scomberomorini, Sardini, and Thunnini.


Scombrolabracidae Scombrolabracidae - (Longfin escolars) Deep-water fishes. Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Protrusible premaxilla. Serrated operculum and preoperculum. Gas bladder having thin, elastic walls and evaginations that fit into the bullae of the adult vertebrae. Vertebrae 30, adults with the 5th through 12th vertebrae having bullae bulging dorsolaterally and opening ventrally. About 30 cm maximum length. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Scombropidae Scombropidae - (Gnomefishes) Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Two dorsal fins. Soft-rayed parts of dorsal and anal fins scaly. Preopercle bearing a membrane flap over the subopercle. Pectorals with a black blotch at base.


Scytalinidae Scytalinidae - (Graveldivers) Distribution: Subarctic and cold-temperate North Pacific. Small, elongate and compressed. Extremely agile and when disturbed rapidly escape by burrowing into the substrate. Their adeptness at going to ground earned them the specific name cerdale, meaning the wary one or the fox. Seldom observed or collected even though they occur in some locations in dense concentrations, and probably are most often seen by clam diggers.The generic name Scytalina is a diminutive of Scytale, from the Greek for viper, in allusion to the serpentlike appearance of the head: broad, with expanded cheeks and a distinct neck, and two strong canines in the upper and lower jaws. Eyes small situated high on the head. Dorsal and anal fins supported by thin, flexible spines (no soft rays). Dorsal and anal fins both with 41-51 spines, deeply buried in skin, the fins beginning opposite each other about halfway back on the body confluent with the caudal fin, which is rounded. Pectoral fins tiny and fleshy, with about 8 rays. Pelvic fins and girdle absent. One pair of nostrils (posterior absent). Cephalic mechanosensory canals opening through pores in deep, broad depressions with fleshy raised rims. Trunk lateral line canal, scales, pyloric caeca and swim bladder absent. Teeth conical, present on jaws, vomer, and palatines. Gill membranes broadly united, free from the isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 6 or 7. Gill rakers practically obsolete. Pleural ribs absent. Vertebrae 69-71. Pinkish brown with purplish mottling, caudal fin margin reddish orange. Attains 15 cm maximum total length. Intertidal and shallow subtidal in spaces under rocks and in gravel, broken shells and sand substrates.


Serranidae Serranidae - (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) Distribution: Tropical and temperate oceans. Some enter freshwater. Operculum bearing 3 spines - a main spine with one below and one above it. Lateral line complete and continuous, not reaching onto caudal fin (lacking in one species). Dorsal fin may be notched, with 7-12 spines. Three spines on anal fin. Caudal fin usually rounded, truncate, or lunate; rarely forked. Tip of maxilla exposed even with mouth closed. No scaly axillary pelvic process. One spine on pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Branchiostegal rays usually 7. Vertebrae 24-26. Monoecious with some functional hermaphrodites; groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites. Anthiinae are mostly small colorful planktivores feeding primarily on tiny crustaceans and fish eggs. They change sex from females to a few dominant males. Despite their attractive colors they need zooplankton as food and are thus not well suited for aquariums. Groupers attain up to 3 m maximum length and weights of up to 400 kg. They are bottom-dwelling predators and highly commercial food fish. Groupers are hardy aquarium fish, but grow rapidly. Grammistinae get their name from a bitter tasting skin toxin, grammistin, which can kill other animals in an aquarium. They feed on crustaceans and fishes. Subfamilies Anthiinae, Epinephelinae (tribes Epinephelini, Niphonini, Liopropomatini, Diploprioni, Grammistini) and Serraninae (Ref. 39231). Synchronous hermaphroditism is primitive in relation to proterogyne hermaphroditism in the phylogenic evolution of Serranidae (Ref. 56921).


Siganidae Siganidae - (Rabbitfishes) Indo-Pacific and eastern Mediterranean. Each pelvic fin with 3 soft rays between an inner and an outer spine. Dorsal fin with 13 strong spines; soft rays 10. Anal fin spines 7; soft rays 9. Poisonous spines. About 40 cm maximum length. Some species in schools; others among corals. All species are diurnal herbivores that feed on benthic algae. Pelagic spawners. Important foodfishes. Some of the colorful species are popular in the aquarium trade.


Sillaginidae Sillaginidae - (Smelt-whitings) Distribution: Indo-west Pacific. Elongated fishes with a small, sharp mouth. Two dorsal fins, the first with 10-13 slender spines; the second with one leading spine and 16-27 soft rays. Long anal fin with 2 leading spines and 14-26 softrays. Silliganids are inshore species that feed mainly on benthic or epibenthic organisms. They are esteemed table fish and some are important in estuarine aquaculture. They attain about 45 cm maximum length.


Sinipercidae Sinipercidae - () Valid family according to Li et al., 2010. Li, C., G. Orti, and J. Zhao. 2010. The phylogenetic placement of sinipercid fishes ("Perciformes") revealed by 11 nuclear loci. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56:1096-1104. Species will be allocated for the next update.


Sparidae Sparidae - (Porgies) Habitat: chiefly marine; very rare in fresh- and brackish water (Ref. 7463). Usually most common along the shore from shallow water (including estuaries), to deeper water as demersal inhabitants of the continental shelf and slope (Ref. 106993). Distribution: tropical and temperate Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Characters: Dorsal fin usually having 10-13 spines; soft rays 10-15. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 8-14. Maxilla hidden by a sheath when mouth is closed. Branchiostegal rays 6. Vertebrae 24 (10 + 14). To about 1.2 m maximum length. Carnivores of hard-shelled benthic invertebrates. Many species have been found to be hermaphroditic; some have male and female gonads simultaneously; others change sex as they get larger. Uses: Premier food and game fishes. Many species around southern Africa. A few species have been implicated in cases of ciguatera (Ref. 4537).


Sphyraenidae Sphyraenidae - (Barracudas) Tropical and subtropical. Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Elongated body. Large-mouthed with the lower jaw projecting forward bearing strong fanglike teeth. Upper jaw non-protractile, an adaptation to feeding on large prey. Well-developed lateral line. Gill rakers vestigial. Position of pectoral fins relatively low. Dorsal fins far apart. First dorsal fin with 5 spines; second dorsal with 1 spine and 9 soft rays. Vertebrae 24 (11+13). Usually to 1.8 m maximum length; could grow longer. Voracious predators of other fishes. Attacks on humans have been reported. Pelagic spawning in schools. Food and game fishes, but large specimens may be ciguatoxic.


Stichaeidae Stichaeidae - (Pricklebacks) Distribution: mainly North Pacific; few in North Atlantic. Most species with entirely spinous dorsal fin, others with at least some spines in dorsal fin. Pelvics with the fin rays branched, if present. Ribs present. Anal origin usually equidistant to snout and caudal fin origin or closer to snout.


Stromateidae Stromateidae - (Butterfishes) Coastal. Distribution: North and south America, western Africa, and Indo-Pacific. Usually very deep-bodied. Adults without pelvic fins but pelvic girdle present. Continuous dorsal fin. Usually 2-6 spines in anal fin; soft rays 30-50.


Symphysanodontidae Symphysanodontidae - (Slopefishes) Family of uncertain position, containing the genus Symphysanodon, found in the western Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Terapontidae Terapontidae - (Grunters or tigerperches) Coastal marine, brackish and freshwater in the Indo-West Pacific. Several species restricted to freshwater. Body oblong and slightly compressed. Operculum bearing 2 spines (lower spine longer). Dorsal fin notched, the spinous part depressible into a basal scaly sheath; spines 11-13; soft rays 9-11. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 7-10. Pelvic fins insertion behind base of pectorals; one spine, 5 soft rays. Caudal fin rounded, truncate or emarginate with 15 branched rays. Lateral line uninterrupted, reaching on caudal fin. Jaws with villiform or incisiform teeth; vomer and palatines toothless in most species. Branchiostegal rays 6; gills 4, a slit behind the last. Vertebrae 25-27. About 80 cm maximum length. Feed on fishes, insects, algae, and sand-dwelling invertebrates. Also spelled Teraponidae, Theraponidae or Therapontidae.


Tetragonuridae Tetragonuridae - (Squaretails) Distribution: tropical and subtropical seas. Elongated body. Adults with pelvic fins. Spinous dorsal fin with 10-20 short spines; soft dorsal fin with 10-17 soft rays. A single spine in anal fin; soft rays 10-16. One keel on each side of caudal peduncle. Scales in lateral series 73-114. 40-58 vertebrae. Thought to feed primarily on coelenterates and ctenophores.


Thalasseleotrididae Thalasseleotrididae - ()


Toxotidae Toxotidae - (Archerfishes) Coastal brackish, and freshwater. Distribution: India to the Philippines, Australia and Polynesia. Compressed and deep-bodied; maximum body depth 1.8-2.5 in standard length. Big-eyed. With 4-6 strong spines in dorsal fin; soft rays 11-14. Three spines in anal fin; soft rays 15-18. Soft portion of dorsal fin much shorter than soft part of anal fin. Mouth large and terminal, with the lower jaw jutted, and very protractile. Scales on lateral line about 25-47. Branchiostegal rays 7. Vertebrae 24 (10+14). Shoots down insects by squirting water from the mouth. Assumed to be nonguarders (RF). Popular freshwater aquarium fish. Usually below 16 cm in length but may reach 40 cm maximum length, as reported for T. chatareus.


Trachinidae Trachinidae - (Weeverfishes) Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Sea (and off Chile?). Elongate body. Second dorsal fin long. Pelvic fins before pectoral fins. Anal fin long. Gill cover spine and spines of first dorsal fin bearing venomous glands. Vertebrae 34-43. Burrowing in sand. To 45 cm maximum size in Trachinus araneus.


Trichiuridae Trichiuridae - (Cutlassfishes) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Body extremely elongate and strongly compressed. Maxilla hidden by preorbitals. Jaws usually with fanglike teeth. Dorsal fin very long (extending over length of body); the soft-rayed part usually longer than the spinous part and the parts demarcated by a notch in some species. Caudal fin small, if present. Pectoral fin inserted low on body. Pelvic fin, if present, reduced to 1 scalelike spine and a vestigial soft ray. With 58-192 vertebrae (34-53 + 24-151).


Trichodontidae Trichodontidae - (Sandfishes) Distribution: North Pacific. Body deep and strongly compressed. Mouth large,upward-oriented, strongly oblique; lips with a fleshy fringe. Preopercle with 5 prominent spines. Two dorsal fins, well separated, the first with 8-16 spines and the second with 0-1 spine and 12-20 soft rays. Anal fin comprises 0-1 spine and 28-32 soft rays. Caudal fin large, forked or truncate. Pectoral fins large and fanlike, extending practically to ventral midline, rays thickened; 21-27 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic, with 1 spine and 5 rays. Nostrils tubular, one pair (posterior pair absent). Scales absent. Lateral line canal well developed, situated high on body and following dorsal contour to caudal fin. Teeth small, sharp, in 2 or 3 rows on jaws and vomer; absent from palatines. Gill membranes united nateriorly and free of the isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 5 or 6. Gill rakers slender, fairly numerous (16-21). Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 44-52. Silvery, with dark brown mottling and bars dorsolaterally. Attains 30 cm maximum length. Marinel; intertidal to depth of about 400 m, typically shallower than 200 m, on soft bottoms of flat relief. Not commercially fished; caught incidentally in trawl fisheries for shrimp and flatfishes, and easily caught by hand along sandy beaches where abundant. They are most active at night and are attracted by lights at the surface. They rest during the day partially buried in sand or mud with their eyes, mouth and dorsal fins showing. Feeds on small invertebrates. Two monotypic genera: Arctoscopus and Trichodon. Also Ref. 245.


Trichonotidae Trichonotidae - (Sanddivers) Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. Lower jaw jutting forward. Dorsal fin with the anterior rays often extended in males and used for display. One spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Lateral line running along mid-flanks. Trichonotus setiger (type species of Trichonotus) possesses a distinct iris flap or lappet composed of several elongate strands running over the lens. Deep V-shaped notch on posterior margin of lateral line scales. Hover in groups in shallow water feeding on zooplankton; dive into sand when alarmed. Nothing is known about spawning, but assumed to be nonguarders (RF).


Tripterygiidae Tripterygiidae - (Triplefin blennies) Chiefly tropical and temperate. Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Dorsal fin tripartite, the first two segments spinous; the third with at least 7 soft rays. Spines in anal fin 0-2, usually 1 or 2. Pelvic fin jugular with a small spine. Branchiostegal rays 6 or 7. Nape without cirri. Usually ctenoid scales, bearing radii anteriorly only. First gill arch with a membranous attachment to operculum. One special feature reported for the group is that the pterygiophore supporting first segmented dorsal fin ray does not support a dorsal fin spine; three or more other pterygiophores preceed said pterygiophore (Ref. 7463). Typically elongate; with scales on the sides of the body; several genera with blunt, rounded heads, others with more slender, pointed heads; may bear a tubular extension on the anterior nostril; may have incomplete scalation with naked strips along the dorsal-fin base and the belly; head often scaleless, but may have patches of scales in some genera; lateral line typically discontinuous, with an anterior series of pored scales, and a posterior, lower series of notched scales; lateral line reduced to a single, pored series; anterior and middle dorsal fins often consisting of flexible spines, while the posterior dorsal fin has unbranched, segmented rays, the last divided at its base; dorsal fin divided, spinous and soft dorsal fins separate; dorsal fin divided into three sections, two spinous, one segmented; dorsal fin spines outnumbering segmented rays; branched or simple segmented dorsal-fin rays; posterior most first dorsal-fin pterygiophore supporting 1 or 2 fin ray elements; with or without an autogenous bony stay after the posterior most dorsal-fin pterygiophore; anal fins with 14 to 32 segmented rays; anal-fin spines of mature males lacking fleshy bulbous swellings; posterior most anal fin pterygiophore supporting 1 or 2 fin ray elements; autogenous bony stay present or absent following the posterior most anal-fin pterygiophore; with or without branched pectoral-fin rays; dorsal most pectoral-fin ray totally or partially articulating with scapula; coracoid autogenous; some caudal-fin rays branched; ventral hypural plate autogenous; hypural 5 present (most genera) or absent; lateral line contained on scales with free posterior margins (scales not embedded, not covered by a bone); lateral line extending half or more of the length of the body; no rostral cartilage; with or without septal bone; ecto- and mesopterygoids autogenous; posterior end of the interopercle extending posteriorly, past the posterior end of epihyal; premaxillae protractile; no distinct enlarged canine teeth in posterior jaw area; free margins of lips entire (as opposed to fimbriate, crenulate, or with lappets); membrane uniting first gill arch to the operculum; no cordlike ligament extending from the dorsoposterior portion of each ceratohyal to anteriormedial end of its respective dentary; urohyal with no vertical pair of processes on each side; gill membranes broadly attached to isthmus; free bony margins of opercular bones not fimbriate; with 4 - 5 infraorbital bones; with or without palatine teeth; anterior ends of pelvises not extending anteriorly past their juncture with the cleithra; sensory canals of infraorbital bones and preopercle unroofed by bone (except Notoclinus) (Ref. 94101). About 25 cm maximum length, mostly below 6 cm. Cryptic bottom dwellers that feed on small invertebrates. Males attract females to nesting sites (Ref. 7463) Associated with hard, ideally rough substrates, mainly rock; most species live subtidally on rocky or coral reefs or in intertidal rock pools; a few occur deeper, on the continental shelf and other slopes down to at least 550 m depth; mostly in sea shores and offshore islands (Ref. 94101). Eggs are hemispherical and covered with numerous sticky threads that anchor them in the algae on the nesting sites (Ref. 240). Larvae are planktonic which occur primarily in shallow, nearshore waters (Ref. 94114).


Uranoscopidae Uranoscopidae - (Stargazers) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Scaleless or with small smooth scales. Large cuboidal head. Mouth strongly oblique, with fringed lips. Eyes dorsally located or nearly dorsal. Lateral line high. Pelvic fins jugular and very close to each other. One spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Dorsal fin moderately long; many without spinous dorsal. Anal fin moderately long. Some species use a small vermiform filament originating from floor of mouth for attracting prey fish. Two large poison spines, with double-grooves and a poison gland basally, located behind opercle and above pectorals. Vertebrae 24-26. The genus Astroscopus with internal nostrils for inhalation and electric organs. Feed on benthic fishes and invertebrates. Reproduction unknown but assumed to be nonguarders (RF).


Xenisthmidae Xenisthmidae - (Collared wrigglers) Indo-Pacific. Lower lip with a free ventral margin; six branchiostegal rays. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418. Species are small (mostly less than 2.5 cm SL) and very secretive; lives on sand patches adjacent to coral reefs or reef rubble (Ref. 94949).


Xiphiidae Xiphiidae - (Swordfish) Distribution: tropical and subtropical waters. Premaxilla and nasal bones extremely elongated, forming a pointed, depressed, sharp-edged sword. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Adults scaleless. No pelvic fins and girdle. Adults lacking jaw teeth. One median keel on each side of the caudal peduncle in adults. Vertebrae 26. Maximum length 4.5 m. The morphological adaptations required for maintaining high brain and retinal temperatures are discussed in Brock et al. 1993 Science 260:210-214. Of high commercial value.


Zanclidae Zanclidae - (Moorish idol) Indo-pan-Pacific. Monotypic. Strongly compressed discoid body. Tubular snout with a small mouth containing numerous elongate bristle-like teeth. Dorsal spines elongated into a whip-like filament. Common inhabitant of coral reefs. It has a long larval stage and settles at a large size (> 6 cm SL), resulting in a widespread distribution. Included by some authors in Acanthuridae from which it differs mainly in lacking a peduncular spine. Pelagic spawner; larvae drift for a long time before settlement, resulting in a wide distribution. Feed on mainly on sponges, also benthic invertebrates. Difficult to maintain (feed) in the aquarium.


Zaproridae Zaproridae - (Prowfish) Distribution: North Pacific. Body and head stout and compressed; snout blunt; mouth terminal and large. Dorsal and anal fins high and evenly contoured. Dorsal fin with 54-58 thin, flexible spines. Anal fin with 3 or 4 thin spines and 24-30 soft rays. Caudal fin large and rounded, peduncle short and deep. Pectoral fins large, with 20-25 rays. Pelvic fins and girdle absent. Soft rays of anal, caudal, and pectoral fins branched two, three, or more times. One pair of nostrils (posterior pair absent). Scales small, cycloid, present on body and median fins. Pores of cephalic lateral line canals large and numerous: suborbital 8, preopercular 7, mandibular 4. Trunk lateral line canal absent, up to three incomplete lines of widely spaced superficial neuromasts discernible in fresh specimens. Jaw teeth sharp, uniserial; vomerine and palatine teeth absent. Gill membranes broadly united and free from isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 6. Pyloric caeca numerous (36-77). Swim bladder absent. Vertebrae 61-64. Adults grayish blue to green with white-, yellow-, or pale-blue-rimmed head pores; young fish orange-brown with inconspicuous head pores. Attains total length of 1 m or more. Adults occur near bottom to depth of 675 m or more, juveniles and young adults often taken near surface over deep water. Often found in association with jellyfishes, Juveniles take shelter under the medusae and are often mistaken for medusafish, Icichthys lockingtoni (Centrolophidae).


Zoarcidae Zoarcidae - (Eelpouts) Distribution: Arctic to Antarctic. Elongate body. Mouth inferior. Dorsal and anal fins long and continuous with caudal fin. Pelvic fins absent or small and jugular, when present (erectile pelvic fins beneath the eyes in the genus Derepodichthys). With or without scales. Gill membranes attached to isthmus. Vertebrae 58-150. The three species of Zoarces are ovoviviparous; the other zoarcids are oviparous, some showning parental care. Up to 1.1 m maximum length in Macrozoarces americanus. Inhabits the intertidal zone to deep waters of the continental slope (Ref. 90127).


Note: Families with unknown counts of dorsal or anal spines are also included

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