Palatine and vomer toothless; caudal fin rounded, profile similar to centrar-chids; rounded lobes on anal and second dorsal fins giving fish the appearance of having three tails; dorsal fin with 12 spines and 15 or 16 soft rays; 24 vertebrae.
The very young can camouflage themselves by turning sideways and floating like leaves. Maximum length about 1.0 m.
The inclusion of the species of Datnioides (tigerperches) in this family is provisional; some works place it in its own family or have aligned it with other families. If recognized in its own family, Kottelat (2000b) argued that the valid family-group name is Datnioididae. Species of Datnioides have been recognized under the generic name Coius (family Coiidae) (e.g., Kottelat, 1998:111); but Kottelat (2000b) regarded Coius as a synonym of Anabas, thus Datnioididae can no longer be considered a synonym of Coiidae. Although there is no firm evidence that Labotes and Datnioides form a monophyletic group, I retain them in the same family as a conservative measure until a phylogenetic study demonstrates other relationships.
Two genera, Datnioides (with about three species that are freshwater and brackish water from India to Borneo and New Guinea) and Lobotes (at least two species, marine), with about five species.
Family GERREIDAE (373)—mojarras. Marine (occasionally brackish and rarely in freshwater); most warm seas.
Mouth highly protrusible; head scaly, upper surface smooth; scaly sheath along bases of dorsal and anal fins; dorsal fin with 9 or 10 spines and 9-17 soft rays; scales usually cycloid and often partially deciduous; gill membranes free from isthmus; tail deeply forked; 24 vertebrae. Maximum length 41 cm SL.
Eugerres mexicanus, of southern Mexico and northern Guatemala, is confined to freshwater. In addition, several species that are otherwise marine enter rivers (for example, Eucinostomus melanopterus and five species of Gerres in Africa, with G. filamentosus also in the Australian region, and species of Diapterus, Eugerres, and Eucinostomus in the New World).
Eight genera, Diapterus, Eucinostomus, Eugerres, Gerres, Parequula, Pentaprion (with five or six spines in anal fin), UJlaema, and Xystaema, with about 44 species (e.g., Iwatsuki et al., 2002; Ruiz-Carus and Uribe-Alcocer, 2003; Gilmore and Greenfield, 2003).
Family HAEMULIDAE (Pomadasyidae) (374)—grunts. Marine (many in brackish water, rarely in freshwater); Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.
Dorsal fin continuous, with 9-14 spines and 11-26 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and 6-18 soft rays; mouth small; teeth on jaws usually cardiform, generally absent on vomer; enlarged chin pores usually present; seven branchiostegal rays; 26 or 27 vertebrae (10 or 11 + 16). Maximum length about 60 cm.
In a 1980 study, G. D. Johnson recognized two subfamilies: the Haemulinae, primarily of the New World with a short dorsal fin of 13-16 soft rays, and the Plectorhynchinae, of the Indo-West Pacific and eastern Atlantic with a long dorsal fin of 17-26 soft rays (comprises the last three genera listed below). Fishes in the last subfamily often have thick fleshy lips as adults (these are called the rubberlips or sweetlips) and are brightly colored. The eastern tropical Atlantic Parakuhlia macrophthalmus may belong in this family, but it has been placed in the Kuhliidae by many. Springer and Raasch (1995) established the family name Hapalogeniidae (Haplogeniidae) for Hapalogenys, a genus of uncertain relationships.
Seventeen genera—e.g., Anisotremus, Conodon, Haemulon, Microlepidotus, Orthopristis, Pomadasys, Xenichthys, and Xenistius in Haemulinae, and Diagramma, Parapristipoma,, and Plectorhinchus in Plectorhynchinae—with about 145 species (e.g., Iwatsuki et al., 2000; Lindeman and Toxey, 2003).
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