Unrepresented Fish Families


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Family Common Name Image Description
Acanthuridae surgeonfishes Body wide, laterally compressed; spine on the side of the caudal peduncle, folds forward into a groove; mouth small; teeth spatula-like and serrated on edges;
Acipenseridae sturgeons Body elongate; head extended into a long snout; mouth on the underside of head below eye, very protractile (lips extend out from the jaws), with 4 barbels; dorsal fin set far back on body; tail fin heterocercal (upper lobe much longer than lower lobe), fleshy extension into the upper lobe; lower lobe wider than upper lobe; body with 5 rows of bony plates (1 dorsal, 2 lateral and 2 ventro-lateral).
Acropomatidae temperate ocean basses Body elongate, moderately compressed; eye large; 2-3 flat spines on upper opercle; lower jaw slightly projecting past upper jaw; some canine teeth; 2 dorsal fins or else a deep notch within a single fin; tail usually forked; light emitting organs on underside.
Albulidae bonefishes Body elongate, tapering at both ends; snout conical; mouth inferior (on under side of head), upper jaw projecting past lower jaw; a small gular plate (a flat bone) on underside of head between arms of jaws; 1 dorsal fin; tail forked; pelvic fins abdominal, located under rear of dorsal fin; no spines in fins.
Alopiidae thresher sharks Body elongate, shark-like; upper lobe of caudal fin very elongated, equal or almost equal to length of body; converging grooves on nape of head to about pectoral fins; 5 pair lateral gill slits, last 2 behind pectoral fin origin; eyes very large, expanding onto top of head; no nasal barbels; precaudal pit present.
Anguillidae freshwater eels Body elongate, eel-like; snout rounded; anterior nostril tubular; mouth large, extending to near posterior margin of eye; lower jaw projects beyond upper jaw; well developed fleshy flaps along upper and lower lips; teeth small and granular; dorsal fin begins well behind pectoral fin; dorsal and anal fin rays continuous with tail fin rays; scales small, oval and set in a basket-weave pattern; pelvic fin absent; lateral line present.
Apogonidae cardinalfishes Body oblong or elongate; eye very large; mouth terminal; upper jaw partially concealed when mouth closed; scales large; preopercle plate on gill cover with 2 edges, 2nd edge serrated (saw-toothed); 2 dorsal fins; color brownish, black, red or orange; small fish, usually under 12 cm (5 in).
Ariommatidae driftfishes Body elongate or deep, round or compressed; snout blunt; mouth small, teeth minute; ridge over eye; 2 dorsal fins, 1st higher than 2nd; pelvic fins fold into pronounced groove; caudal peduncle square in cross-section with 2 small low fleshy keels on each side; caudal fin forked.
Aulostomidae trumpetfishes Body very elongate and compressed; snout elongate, tubular; mouth at end of snout, 1 barbel on chin; 1st dorsal fin composed of isolated spines; 2nd dorsal fin and anal fin set far back on body, near caudal peduncle; pelvic fin small and abdominal, under 1st dorsal fin.
Bregmacerotidae codlets Body elongate; short head; 1st dorsal fin consists of 1 single long ray; 2nd dorsal and anal fins long with enlarged anterior and posterior lobes, middle rays shorter than end rays; pelvic fins under head with long rays that reach past anal fin origin;
Bythitidae viviparous brotulids Body elongate; snout blunt; anterior nostril placed immediately above upper lip; pelvic fin, if present, anterior to pectoral fin, filamentous, consisting of 1-2 rays; single spine on operculum; dorsal and anal fins long, sometimes joined directly to caudal fin;
Carapidae pearlfishes Body elongate, slender, eel-like; usually cylindrical in cross section; body depth gradually decreases from head to tail; translucent; scaleless; dorsal fin rays shorter than anal fin rays; dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail rays; no separate tail, just tapering end; no pelvic fins.
Chaenopsidae tube blennies Body elongate, scaleless; head with fleshy flaps; gill plates on each side connected underneath by soft membrane; dorsal fin elongate, more spines than rays; pelvic fin inserted anterior to pectoral fins; small fish, usually under 7 cm (2 3/4 in).
Cirrhitidae hawkfishes Body somewhat elongate, oval in cross-section; dorsal spine singe with a notch between the spines and the rayed part; dorsal spines tipped with cirri; 10 dorsal fin spines; lower 5-7 pectoral rays thickened and usually elongate, not linked together by membranes to their tip; cirri on the edge of anterior nostrils.
Congridae conger eels Body elongate, eel-like; snout may be long and slender or short and blunt; upper jaw usually extends slightly past lower jaw; mouth usually extends to somewhere beneath eye; eye well developed, sometimes large; anterior nostrils tubular, near tip of snout; some teeth may be exposed when jaw shut; gill opening a curved slit in front of pectoral fin; pectoral fin usually present; pelvic fin absent; no scales; dorsal and anal fin rays continuous with tail fin rays.
Dactylopteridae flying gurnards Body elongate; top and sides of head surrounded by bony shield; 2 hard, keeled spines extending from top of head to 1st dorsal; preopercle spine long, narrow, extending to pectoral fins; 1st dorsal origin with 2 free spines; pectoral fin divided into a short anterior part and a long posterior part that nearly reaches the tail; 2 sharp keels on caudal fin base; scales with keels.
Dactyloscopidae sand stargazers Body very elongate; head broad; eye nearly on top of head, usually protruding (bulging); fleshy flaps in lips and opercle; dorsal and anal fins long, nearly reaching or slightly reaching to tail; pelvic fins placed anterior to pectoral fins, under throat (area beneath gill covers); scales large, smooth.
Gempylidae snake mackerels Body elongate, slightly to strongly compressed; mouth large, teeth strong, sometimes fang-like; 1st dorsal fin all spine; 2nd dorsal fin shorter, usually followed by several detached finlets; anal fin also usually followed by detached finlets; pectoral fin short, smaller than head length; scales small or absent, sometimes modified into sharp tubercles.
Istiophoridae billfishes Body elongate and somewhat compressed; upper jaw prolonged into a sword-like projection, round in cross-section; 2 dorsal fins, 1st long and extremely tall, either throughout its length or at the origin, 2nd small and short; 2 anal fins, 1st larger than 2nd; 1st dorsal and anal fins fold back into a groove; pelvic fin consist of 1 or 2 rays and 1 spine; caudal fin large, lunate or forked, 2 pair of keels on either side of base.
Labridae wrasses Body elongate, slightly or extremely compressed; mouth terminal, may be extremely protractile, lips thick; posterior end of maxilla (upper jaw); anterior teeth widely separated and canine, usually curved inward or outward; bright colors.
Labrisomidae labrisomids Body usually elongate; cirri (fleshy flaps) often on nape, nostril and above eye; gill covers connected by membrane on ventral surface; long dorsal fin with more spines than rays; pelvic fins anterior to pectoral fin base.
Lamnidae mackerel sharks Body elongate, round; caudal fin lunate, upper lobe only slightly longer than lower; caudal peduncle strongly compressed dorsoventrally; strong lateral keel on caudal peduncle extending to tail; 5 pair lateral gill slits, all in front of pectoral fin origin; eyes above mouth; 2 dorsal fins; 2nd dorsal fin and anal fin very small; precaudal pit present;
Molidae ocean sunfishes Body deep, may be slightly elongate, compressed laterally; caudal peduncle absent; caudal fin reduce to a leathery fold with scalloped edges, right behind dorsal and anal fins; mouth small, terminal, may form a vertical slit; teeth form a beak with 2 plates; dorsal and anal fins set far back on body, both tall, pelvic fins absent; skin leathery and thick but with small scales.
Moringuidae spaghetti eels Body elongate, eel-like; eyes very small (usually); mouth large, ending under or slightly behind eye; dorsal fin begins far behind head at midlength or well behind midlength; dorsal and anal fin rays continuous with tail fin rays; pectoral fins present but may be reduced; pelvic fins absent; no scales; lateral line present.
Myliobatidae eagle rays Body flattened dorsoventrally, rhomboid shaped, broader than long; color usually brown on upper surface, sometimes spotted, white on lower surface; pectoral fins (wings) on sides of body, triangular shaped, pointed at tips; head distinctly set off from trunk, forming a projecting rostrum (snout); eyes on sides of head; tail long, whiplike; small dorsal fin at base of tail; single serrated spine at base of tail in most species.
Nettastomatidae duckbill eels Body elongate, eel-like, slender, tail sharply tapering; mouth large, extending to near posterior margin of eye; snout slender, elongate, upper jaw extending past lower jaw anteriorly; some teeth showing when jaws shut; pectoral fin usually absent; no pelvic fins; scaleless; dorsal and anal fin rays continuous with tail fin rays.
Nomeidae man-of-war fishes Body slender to deep, laterally compressed; mouth small, jaw rarely extending to below eye; operculum with 2 flat, weak spines; 2 dorsal fins, 1st folds into groove; pelvic fins abdominal, posterior to pectoral fin base; pectoral fins elongate as the fish gets larger, almost wing-like; tail forked.
Odontaspididae sand tigers Body elongate, shark-like; 2 dorsal fins about equal in size; anterior teeth in upper jaw separated from lateral teeth by a gap with tiny intermediate teeth; often with round yellowish spots; eyes above mouth; 5 lateral gill slits, all in front of pectoral fin origin; no nasal barbels; precaudal pit present; tail heterocercal (upper lobe elongate, spinal column extends into upper lobe).
Opistognathidae jawfishes Body moderately elongate; mouth very large, sometimes extending to or beyond posterior margin of opercle (gill cover); eyes large and high on head; pelvic fins anterior to pectoral fin base; 2 outer rays of pectoral fin strong, unbranched; lateral line high on body, ending about the middle of dorsal fin.
Ostraciidae trunkfishes Body usually triangular in cross-section (flat on the bottom), sometimes rectangular or pentangular; body encased in bony shell or thickened scale plates, usually hexagonal in shape; sometimes with spines around eyes and posterior ventral and dorsal surfaces; no bony plates on caudal peduncle; mouth small, terminal, fleshy lips; teeth small, conical; pelvic fins absent.
Pristidae sawfishes Body elongate, moderately compressed; snout extremely long, narrow, blade-like with lateral teeth; head dorsoventrally compressed; gill slits (5) and nostrils ventral, nostrils well in front of mouth; eyes and spiracles dorsal, spiracles well behind eyes; 2 dorsal fins; low ridge on either side of caudal peduncle; tail fin well developed, with or with out well developed lower lobe; no single enlarged spine on tail.
Rhinobatidae guitarfishes Body elongate; snout prolonged, wedge-shaped; head dorsoventrally compressed; gill slits (5) and nostrils ventral, nostrils near mouth; eyes and spiracles dorsal, spiracles just behind eyes; 2 dorsal fins; tail fin well developed, lower lobe poorly developed; no single enlarged spine on tail.
Scaridae parrotfishes Body oblong; snout blunt; teeth form a pair of teeth-like plates in each jaw in most species; in others, small teeth fused at their bases or on the margins of the plates; scales large but smooth to the touch; usually spectacularly colored.
Squatinidae angel sharks Body flattened, ray-like; 5 pair gill slits ventro-lateral on body; pectoral fins enlarged, triangular; mouth terminal; nasal barbels present; no precaudal pit; no anal fin.
Synaphobranchidae cutthroat eels Body elongate, eel-like; snout can be short and blunt or moderately elongate; mouth usually large, extending past the posterior margin of eye, jaws usually near equal, but either jaw may project slightly past the other; dill openings low on body, sometimes uniting into a ventral slit; scales present or absent; pectoral fin present or absent; dorsal and anal fin rays continuous with tail fin rays;
Torpedinidae electric rays Body flattened round disk, fleshy towards the margins, truncate or emarginate (notched) anteriorly; skin soft and loose; mouth arced, not surrounded by groove; eyes small; 2 dorsal fins; well developed caudal fin; no single enlarged spine on tail; head equipped with electric organs.