Family: CALLIONYMIDAE, Dragonets
gill opening = pore on side
Dragonets are small fishes (to 30 cm) with elongate, somewhat depressed bodies; eyes large, on upper side of head; a small mouth that angles down when open, with a protrusible top jaw; a large spine on the preoperculum, but no spines on the operculum; gill opening a small pore high on the shoulder; two dorsal fins, IV (flexible spines) + 6-11; anal fin with 4-10 rays (no spines); pectorals large, rounded; pelvics insert under preopercular spine, large, reach past anal fin origin in males; tail fin long, with filaments in males; lateral line complete, extends onto tail fin; no scales.
The family, which is found in tropical and temperate seas worldwide, has 18 genera and 181 species. There are 5 species from 3 genera in our area, 2 NW Atlantic, 2 W Atlantic and 1 SW Atlantic.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER HARTEL (2002)