Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Family: OPISTOGNATHIDAE, Jawfishes


All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

elongate , tapering body
large head, eyes high
D X-XI, not notched
D & A: long bases
large mouth
pelvic: before pectoral, 1st 2 rays thick, unbranched
LL: high, front 1/2 body only
head scaleless

FAMILY OPISTOGNATHIDAE

JAWFISHES

Small to medium sized fishes (3-50 cm), with narrow tapering bodies; an enlarged, bulbous head and a large mouth; eyes large, high on head; dorsal fin continuous, IX-XII spines, no notch between spines and rays; dorsal and anal fins with long bases; pelvic fins I, 5, outer 2 rays stout and unbranched, inner 3 rays weaker and branched, fin base before the pectoral; tail fin round to long and pointed; lateral line high on side, ends under the middle of the dorsal fin; scales smooth, on body only.

The group occurs in all warm seas, containing an estimated 61 species in 3 genera. In our region there are 15 species from two genera, 11 endemics and 4 from the W Atlantic.

PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER SMITH-VANIZ (2002)