Third branchiostegal ray extending farther posteriorly than adjacent rays resulting in a projection on the margin of the branchiostegal membrane (except in Calloplesiops); lateral line incomplete or disjunct. Maximum length about 20 cm.
Two subfamilies, 11 genera, and about 46 species (e.g., Mooi, 1995, 1999). Subfamily Plesiopinae (Roundheads OR Longfins)
Scales on gill cover and often on top of head; dorsal fin with 11-15 spines and 6-21 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and 7-23 soft rays; pelvic fin with one spine and four soft rays. Maximum length about 20 cm.
Nelson (1994) gave the sequenced subfamily classification suggested in the 1993 cladistic study of R. D. Mooi.
Seven genera, Assessor, Calloplesiops, Fraudella, Paraplesiops, Plesiops, Steeneichthys, and Trachinops. Indo-Pacific, south to Tasmania.
Subfamily Acanthoclininae (Spiny Basslets)
Head lacking scales or almost so; dorsal fin with 17-26 spines and 2-6 soft rays; anal fin with 7-16 spines and 2-6 soft rays; pelvic fin with one spine and two soft rays; 1-4 lateral lines; vertebrae 26-35. Maximum length about 21 cm, attained in Acanthoclinus fuscus.
Four genera, Acanthoclinus, Acanthoplesiops, Beliops, and Belonepterygion. IndoWest Pacific (Africa to Japan and Marshall Islands and south to New Zealand). Generally less than 70 m in depth.
Family NOTOGRAPTIDAE (345)—bearded eelblennies. Marine; southern New Guinea and northern Australia (south to northern Queensland).
Dorsal, caudal, and anal fins confluent; dorsal fin with 62-69 spines and one or two soft rays; anal fin with 37-43 spines and one or two soft rays; caudal fin with 11 rays and a few rudimentary ones; pectoral fin rays 16-20; pelvic fin with one small, slender spine and two soft rays; median barbel on lower jaw (mental); interarcual cartilage absent; reduced gill arch skeleton; lateral line along dorsal fin base; bone of opercle deeply incised, as with many other groups such as creediids (observed in a specimen in the Academy of Natural
Sciences of Philadelphia, catalogue number ANSP 109653); vertebrae 71-75. Maximum length about 20 cm TL.
One genus, Notograptus, with perhaps three valid species, but the validity of the five nominal species is uncertain (e.g., Mooi, 1999).
Family OPISTOGNATHIDAE (346)—jawfishes. Marine; western and central Atlantic, Indian, and western and eastern Pacific (Gulf of California to Panama).
Mouth large; body with cycloid scales; eyes relatively large and high on head; head naked; pelvic fins ahead of pectorals, with one spine and five soft rays (inner three weak and branched and outer two stout and unbranched, unlike any other perciform); dorsal fin continuous, with 9-12 dorsal spines and usually 12-22 soft rays; anal fin with two or three spines and 10-21 soft rays; lateral line high, ending near middle of dorsal fin (one species has both a ventral and a dorsal lateral line); palate without teeth. The species of Stalix are probably unique among fishes in having the first 5-9 dorsal fin spines transversely forked distally (Smith-Vaniz, 1989). The males practice oral incubation. The eggs have filaments arranged around the micropyle. All jawfishes are burrow dwellers (usually having only their heads exposed) and use their large mouth to excavate their burrows. Maximum length about 40 cm; some species under 3 cm.
Three genera, Opistognathus, Lonchopisthus, and Stalix, with about 78 species (and many species remain to be described) (e.g., Bussing and Lavenberg, 2003; W.F. Smith-Vaniz in Smith and Heemstra, 1986; Smith-Vaniz, 1989, 1999, 2003, 2004).
Family DINOPERCIDAE (347)—cavebasses. Marine; Indian Ocean and eastern Atlantic Ocean off Angola.
Dorsal fin continuous but notched, with 9-11 spines and 18-20 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and 12-14 soft rays; caudal fin truncate; protruding lower jaw; exposed maxillae; large supramaxillae; preopercle serrate; frontal bones with high median crest; two opercular spines; seven branchiostegal rays; large swim bladder with three pairs of intrinsic muscles; 26 vertebrae.
Two species, Centrarchops chapini and Dinoperca petersi (Heemstra and Hecht, 1986).
Family BANJOSIDAE (348)—banjofishes. Marine; western Pacific, primarily coasts of China, southern Japan, and Korea.
Body deep, strongly compressed; head with steep, nearly straight profile; opercle spineless; dorsal fin with 10 flattened spines and 12 soft rays; anal fin with three spines, the second much longer than the other anal rays, and seven soft rays; pelvics inserted behind base of pectorals; caudal fin slightly emar-ginate; lateral line continuous and complete; color brownish or olive with eight faint longitudinal darkish bands. This fish closely resembles the pomadasyids. Maximum length about 30 cm. One species, Banjos banjos (e.g., Nakabo, 2002).
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