Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Family: MALACANTHIDAE, Tilefishes, Whitefishes, Tilefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D VI-VIII, 15-26 or IV-V, 54-60
operculum 1 spine
A I-II, 13-25 or I, 37-55



Tilefishes are moderate sized fishes (35-125 cm); body oblong and somewhat compressed, or elongate and cylindrical; usually a ridge along top of nape before dorsal fin; teeth mainly small and simple, plus a few canines, none on the roof of the mouth; preopercle rear border finely serrated; a single opercular spine; one continuous, long-based dorsal fin, VI-VIII, 15-26 or IV-V, 54-60 rays; anal fin long based, I-II, 13-25 or I, 37-55; scales rough on body, smooth on head. The subfamily Malacanthinae, which includes Malacanthus is characterized by a very slender body, a low ridge along the nape; a dorsal fin with 22-64 elements, and an anal fin with 14-56 elements. Members of the subfamily Latilinae, including Caulolatilus, have a ridge of skin in front of the dorsal fin, have an oblong body, a relatively steep snout profile, and generally have fewer dorsal and anal fin elements (22-36 and 14-28 respectively).

The family, which is distributed in tropical and temperate seas, contains five genera and about 42 species; In our area there are 8 species from three genera, 4 endemics, 2 NW Atlantic and 2 W Atlantic.