Family: ARIOMMATIDAE, Ariomas, Driftfishes
Small fishes; body slender to deep, rounded or compressed; head long; nout short and blunt; eye moderate to large, covered with a fatty-tissue lid that extends to nostrils; mouth small, ends before eye, upper jaw almost completely covered by suborbital bone under eye; teeth tiny, conical, in a single row on jaws, no teeth on roof of mouth or on bases of gill arches; operculum thin, with smooth edge; 2 dorsal fins that are hardly separated; first dorsal with X-XII long, slender spines that fold into a groove, second dorsal low, 13-16 rays; anal fin similar to soft dorsal fin, III (short), 14-15 rays; pelvic fins inserted under or behind pectoral base, fold into a broad groove along belly midline; tail base short and slender, square in cross-section; 2 low fleshy keels on base of tail fin; tail fin stiff and strongly forked; lateral line high along back, an extension forwards over eye; scales smooth, very thin and easily shed.
A single genus with six species in this tropical to subtropical, deepwater family, which occurs in the E and W Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Hawaii. Three species occur in the Greater Caribbean, two of which enter shallow water.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER HAEDRICH (2002)