Body naked, with deciduous cycloid scales, or with deciduous modified ctenoid scales (tubercles may also be present); no anal fin; caudal fin long and at a right angle to the body, consisting of upper lobe only (Desmodema has the few caudal rays parallel to the caudal peduncle); pelvic fins with 1-10 rays; dorsal fin very long, originating distinctly behind tip of snout; eyes large; teeth present; ribs absent; swim bladder rudimentary or absent; vertebrae 62-111. Allometric growth results in various body shapes during growth (including the loss of the pelvic fins during metamorphosis in Desmodema). Maximum length about 1.7 m, attained in Trachipterus altivelis.
Three genera, Desmodema (2 species), Trachipterus (about 6—including King-of-the-Salmon), and Zu (2), with about 10 species (e.g., Olney, 2003).
Was this article helpful?