Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Family: CENTROLOPHIDAE, Medusafish, Medusafishes, Ruffs

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout blunt, thick
eye large, with fatty ring
D continuous, low, long base, spines shorter than rays
top jaw covered by bone
roof of mouth no teeth
pelvics under/just behind pectoral base, connect to belly by membrane



Distinguishing characteristics of these medium to large fishes (50-120 cm) include: elongate to deep, compressed bodies with blunt, thick snouts; head covered with pores; large eyes, with poorly developed fatty rings around them; mouth large; most of top jaw hidden under bone above it; jaws with 1 row of small conical teeth; no teeth on roof of mouth; two flat spines on the thin operculum; one continuous dorsal fin, with either III-VII weak spines that grade into the rays or V-IX stout spines that are much shorter than the rays; anal fin base shorter than dorsal fin base, III, 15-30; small pelvic fins that insert under or just behind pectoral base, and that are connected to the belly by a membrane and can fold into grooves along the belly; a mildly forked, deep tail fin; dorsal and anal fins never with long curved tips; scales small and smooth; head scaleless; lateral line complete.

Medusafishes are pelagic coastal fishes usually found in deep water. There are 7 genera and 32 species in this circumglobal tropical to subtropical family; 4 species in two genera occur in our region.