Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: PRIACANTHIDAE, Bigeyes, Bullseyes, Catalufas, Glasseyes, Catalufas

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head not spiny
very large eye
D X, 11-15
pelvics attached to belly, origin before pectoral base
A III, 10-16



Medium sized fishes (25-70 cm) with strongly compressed, deep bodies; very large eyes; a large, upturned, oblique mouth with a projecting lower jaw; no spines on the head; most with a prominent to flat spine at bottom corner of the preopercle; fin spines with tiny spines; dorsal fin X, 11-15; anal fin III, 10-16; pelvic fins short to long, inserted before pectoral base, widely joined to the belly; tail fin variably shaped; small scales.

Bigeyes are nocturnally active, and spend daylight hours in caves. At night they emerge to feed on larger zooplankton such as crab and shrimp larvae, fish larvae, small squids and octopuses, and larval polychaete worms. Many of the species occur in shallow reef habitats, but others range to depths as great as 500 m.

The family occurs in all warm seas and contains four genera with 19 species, all but three of which inhabit the Indo-West Pacific region. In our region there are four species from four genera, two of them circumtropical, one that is also found in Hawaii, and one endemic.