Subrectangular fleshy pad in intermandibular area; pelvic fins present, with one spine and five soft rays; two separate dorsal fins of about equal length, the first with seven spines, the second with three spines and 8-10 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and eight or nine soft rays; pectoral fin with 10-12 rays; body scale-less, with soft skin; two large spines on opercle, may be concealed by skin; vertebrae 28-30. The spines can inflict painful wounds. Maximum length 30 cm. One species, Gnathanacanthus goetzeei.
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