The Labracoglossidae has no common name for the five species (three genera) of this western and South Pacific family. They have a single dorsal fin and no canine teeth in the jaws. The false trevallics (family Lactariidae) from the Indo-Pacific have two dorsal fins, the soft-rayed portion of both dorsal and anal fins covered with scales. Two small canine teeth arc present in each jaw, The single genus has up to two species. Neither of these families is commonly represented in the aquarium trade.
The bluefishes (family Pomatomidae) have two dorsal fins, the soft dorsal and anal fins covered with scales. The Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is quite famous as a sports fish. It is a schooling fish with the reputation of being vicious and bloodthirsty, killing just for the sake of killing. The schools of Bluefish trail schools of fishes such as herrings, menhadens, etc., charging into them violently enough to at times cause the water to boil with turbulence and usually killing more than they can consume. In the North Atlantic these schools migrate northward in the summer and southward when cooler temperatures arrive. Eggs are released into the water to develop as part of the plankton.
The Cobia (Rachycentrum canndum, family Rachycentridae) occurs in tropical waters around the world. It closely resembles the remoras, but instead of the sucking disc on top of the head it has a normal dorsal fin of 6-9 short, free spines. It feeds on fishes and crustaceans near the bottom and has been given the common name Crab-eater in some locales.
The remoras (family Echeneididae) possess a sucking disc, a modification of the spinous dorsal fin that is used to attach themselves to larger fishes, turtles, or marine mammals. They thus hitch a ride and are able to feed off the scraps of their host's dinner. Suction is increased if the re mora moves back "against the grain" of the laminae of the disc and released if the remora swims forward. This suction effect has been used to catch turtles. A remora is released into the water after a line has been attached to its tail. After a time the line and remora arc hauled in with the remora hopefully attached to a turtle. The disc develops at an early age. for specimens as small as 2.5 cm or so have been found with fully formed discs.
The jacks and pompanos (family Carangidae) are generally streamlined, silvery, fast-moving fishes of temperate and tropical seas of the world. The body may be deep to fusiform, and there are usually two dorsal fins, the first with 3-9 sometimes very short, detached spines, and three anaL spines, the first two usually detached from the rest of the fin. Commonly there are modified scales (scutes) along the posterior portion of the lateral line. The tail is forked and the caudal peduncle slender. A number of species are commonly in the aquarium trade and many more are normally present in public aquariums. One of the favorites is Gnathanodon speciosus with its golden color set off by black bars. Others include the deep-bodied members of the genera Alectis and Selene, some of which have long trailing filaments to the dorsal arid anal fins. Naucrates ductor is called the Pilotfish as it is normally seen in company with large sharks — often swimming in the bow wave of the shark's snout. A number of carangids are also found under the bells of floating jellyfish, some of which possess tentacles armed with stinging nematocysts. Small carangids will also shelter next to floating debris and are able to travel across open pelagic waters in relative safety. Most carangids are considered sports fishes and anglers are usually provided with a good fight for their troubles. In addition, most species are good eating, the pompanos being exceptionally good eating and commanding considerably higher prices than most food fishes.
The Roosterfish (family Nematistiidae) is the only member of its family. Nematistius pecto-ralis occurs in the tropical eastern Pacific and is distinctive by having the seven spines of the first dorsal tin elongate and filamentous. When folded back they fit into a groove. The Roosterfish is a good fighter and good to eat, thus making it a target for fishermen.
The dolphins (family Coryphacnidae) are more commonly being called doiphinflshes or even by the Hawaiian name mahimahis to help distinguish them from the porpoise-like mammals also called dolphins. The two species are very similar, with long, spineless dorsal and anal fins and a forked caudal fin. The males of the larger Dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus) develop a very high blunt forehead giving the fish a distinctive appearance. Mahimahis are excellent game fishes and excellent food fishes, so they are actively sought out by fishermen. They travel in small schools and once one is hooked others usually are also. Living fishes arc quite beautiful, with blues, greens, and yellow predominating. Once landed, the fishes in their death throes change color, going through a rainbow of hues until they are dead and a dull silvery gray.
The family Apolectidae contains a single species, Apolectus niger, from the Indo-West Pacific. Formerly known under the name Forinio niger (family Formionidae). individuals over 9.1 cm have no pelvic fins. The dorsal fin has 2-6 rudimentary spines and 41-46 rays. The scales are small and numerous, and a few enlarged scutes adorn the posterior end of the lateral line. Recently some authors have synonymi/.ed Apolectus with Harastro?nateus and have at the same time included the family Apolectidae in the Carangidae. It seems likely that these steps will be accepted.
Moonfish and Slipmouths (Plate 193)
The Moonfish (Mene maculata, family Menidae) is very compressed with a sharp breast. The dorsal and anal fins are many-rayed (43-45 and 30-33 rays respectively) and have no spines.
Members of the family Leiognathidae are called by many names, the most common being ponyfishes, slipmouths, and slimys. They occur in marine and brackish waters of the Indo-West Pacific. The body is very compressed and the scales are small. The dorsal and anal fins are many-rayed, with spines, and fold back into scaly sheaths. Most species arc small, the largest attaining a length of only a foot. They exude a slimy mucus when handled and the small mouths are highly protrusible, accounting for two of the common names. Although some of the species make interesting aquarium fishes, the basic silvery color places them low on the desirable list:.
Pomfrets (Plate 194)
Pomfrets (family Bramidae) are oceanic fishes from tropical oceans. Deep-bodied and with a single dorsal fin. the pomfrets are divided into two subfamilies. The Braminae contains Brama, 7'aractes. etc.. while the Pteraclinae contains the genera Pteraclis and Pterycombus. Although the latter species are quite attractive (silvery- body and long black sail-like dorsal and anal fins), they are never available.
Australian Salmons (Plate 194)
The Australian salmons (family Arripidae) occur in southern Australia and New Zealand. Only a single genus and two species are known. They are not true salmons, but apparently arrived at the name through confusion of early settlers in Australia who likened them to the European salmon.
Rovers, Snappers, and Fusiliers (Plates 195-209)
Rovers (family Emmelichthyidae) are warm-water fishes of most oceans. The dorsal fin may be continuous with but a shallow notch, so it appears to be in two separate parts but with the gap filled with short spines. The two lobes of the forked caudal fin fold in scissor-like fashion.
The snappers (family Lutjanidae) are quite well known, and a number of the almost 200 species arc commonly kept in aquarists' tanks. Certainly snappers are well represented in public aquariums. The dorsal fin is continuous (some have a shallow notch), and most species have characteristic enlarged canine teeth on the jaws. They are important food fishes, and anglers consider some of them prize catches. Most are bottom-dwelling schooling fishes feeding on small fishes and invertebrates. The largest genus, Latjanus, contains many species that are welcome in aquarists' tanks, especially the more colorful ones like the bright yellow species with blue stripes (mostly Lutjanus kasmira but others as well) and many juveniles. Luljanus sebae has always been an aquarium favorite, as has the black and white patterned juvenile of Macolor niger. Although not common, juveniles of Symphorus nematophorus have filamentous dorsal fin rays and often arc kept. The Yellowtail Snapper (Ocyurus chry-surus) has a yellow stripe that extends from the snout backward to include the entire tail. It differs behaviorally from other snappers by occurring solitarily and swimming higher in the water column.
Fusiliers (family Caesionidae) occur in the warm waters of the lndo-West Pacific. They are streamlined fishes with a deeply forked caudal fin and a small mouth. They are planktivor-ous (feeding on small drifting organisms) and commonly are seen in large schools over the reef. Only an occasional fusilier is seen in marine hobbyists' tanks, but they arc more common in public aquariums.
Tripletails (Plate 209)
Tripletails (family I.obotidae) occur in marine, brackish, and fresh waters of tropical seas. The name does not imply that they have three tails, but the posterior edges of the dorsal and anal fins plus the true tail give that appearance. Two genera are included in this family, the freshwater and brackish Datnioides that freshwater aquarists should know, and the marine Lobotes, the true Tripletail. Juvenile Ijobotes are very good at pretending to be dead leaves or other floating material along the shoreline. They lie on their side and float among the debris until prey animals arc encountered. .Juveniles are mottled brown or dark brownish black, aiding in the illusion These small fish are occasionally in the trade.
Mojarras (Plates 210. 211)
Mojarras (family Gerreidae) occur in marine, brac kish, and even some fresh waters in tropical and subtropical seas, the majority in American waters. They inhabit sandy shore areas. These relatively small (most less than 25 cm), silvery fishes have a highly protrusible mouth and sheaths that accept the dorsal and anal fins. The caudal fin is forked. The basic silver of these fishes may be complemented by dark markings and, in some species, yellow fins. Nevertheless, they are only occasionally present in the aquarium trade.
Grunts, Porgies, and Their Relatives (Plates 212-242, 245)
The grunts (family Hacmulidae) inhabit tropical and subtropical waters around the world, usually close to the bottom in reefy areas. Although most are strictly marine, some species occur in brackish water. The dorsal fin is continuous and the small mouth is normally provided with cardiform teeth. Two subfamilies are commonly employed, the Haemulinae (the true grunts) and Plectorhynchinae, the latter subfamily (common name sweetlips because of the thick, fleshy lips) sometimes being raised to family status. Grunts are predominantly an Atlantic group while sweetlips are more Indo-Pacific The grunts get their name because of the grunting noise they make by grinding their pharyngeal teeth together and amplifying the sound with the swim bladder. They commonly school and may be seen on the reef in company with large schools of snappers. Juvenile Atlantic grunts are only occasionally offered for sale to hobbyists, but sweetlips are almost always available. Young sweetlips are usually brightly colored, and very small individuals move with a sort of sinuous motion. The most popular aquarium species are Plectonnchus chaetodorioidea (Clown Sweetlips) and P. oneii-talis in the Plectorhynchinae and AnLsotremus virginicus (Porkfish) in the Haemulinae. This large family includes about 175 species.
The bonnctmouths (family Inermiidae) have the dorsal fin divided by a deep notch and the caudal fin is forked. The upper jaw is highly protrusible. Bonnetmouths are planktivorous„ feeding on the small drafting organisms of the plankton. Only two monotypic genera are in eluded.
Porgies (family Sparidae) are marine (rarely brackish or freshwater) fishes of tropical to occasionally temperate waters, the greatest proportion of the 100 or so species occurring in the Atlantic. They resemble grunts in having a continuous dorsal fin. but the maxilla is cov ered by a sheath when the mouth is closed. Habitats include reefs and rocky and sandy ar eas. Like the grunts, the porgies commonly aggregate into schools. Pood items are varied in these omnivorous fishes, some species crushing molluscs with molar-like teeth. Few of the porgies are in the aquarium trade. They are mostly caught as food fishes both commercially and by sport fishermen.
The emperors (family Lethrinidae) inhabit coastal waters of the Indo-West Pac ific and West Africa. They have a continuous dorsal fin and the eyes (at least in Lethrinus) are commonly set high on the head, the resulting elongate snout being used to dig into the sand for small invertebrates (sort of marine Geophagus). These are common food fishes that rarely are seen in the aquarium trade.
The threadfin breams (family Nemipteridae) are closely related to the emperors. They have a continuous dorsal fin and the caudal fin may have a filament extending from the upper lobe. Most of the three dozen species arc» quite colorful, with species of Scolopsis and Pentapodus appearing regularly in the hobby. The third genus of the family, Nemipterus. contains delicately colored species, but for some reason they do not enter the marine aquarium trade.
Drums and Croakers (Plates 242-244)
There are over 200 species of drums and croakers included in the family Sciaenidae that inhabit marine, brackish, and fresh waters of the tropical to temperate zones of the world. The largest number of freshwater drums occur in South America. The dorsal fin is long and has a deep notch between the spinous and soft portions. The lateral line scales extend to the end of the caudal fin, and some species possess a barbel or barbels on the chin Most drums arc found in shallow inshore waters over sandy bottoms. The common names are derived from their ability to make sounds using muscular contractions amplified by the swim bladder. Included in this family are such well known food and sports fishes as the weakfishes. Spotted Sea Trout, White Seabass, kingflshes. Corbina, and Black Drum. Aquarists keep the young of the genus Equetus, which often have the first dorsal and pelvic fins greatly elongated. These are the high-hats, cubbyus, and jackknife-fishes.
Goatfishes (Plates 245-251)
Goatfishes (family Mullidae) are so-called because of their two long chin barbels that are used in detecting food as they move over the bottom substrate. They also have two widely separated dorsal fins and a forked tail. The dominant color is red with yellow, white, and black often providing contrast in various patterns. Goatfishes inhabit tropical seas usually near reefs, where they feed on the associated crustaceans and other invertebrates. They are important food fishes occurring occasionally in moderately large schools. Aquarists keep goatfishes not only for their coloration but al.se» as a means of having the food on the bottom removed, much as do the catfishcs in freshwater aquaria The drawback is that they are so vigorous that at times the bottom is stirred up. causing a cloudy tank.
Moonfishes (Plate 252, 344)
Moonfishes (family Monodactylidae) are marine and brackish water fishes (although they can exist in pure fresh water if necessary) from the Indo-West Pacific and West African coasts. The body is very deep and compressed, and the dorsal and anal fins are long-based and continuous, with graduated spines. These fins are covered with scales. The Common Moonfish (Monodactylus urgenteus) is prized by both freshwater and marine aquarists, though most specimens are kept in brackish water with scats and other similar fishes.
Sweepers (Plates 252-254)
Sweepers (family Pempherididae) are marine and brackish water fishes inhabiting the In-do-Pacific and the western Atlantic. The body is deep and compresed. and there is a single short-based dorsal fin and a long-based anal fin. These fishes normally are seen in large schools around reefs, commonly seeking shelter in caves or among the spines of sea urchins along with cardinalfishes and other small fishes. A few of the species are provided with luminescent organs. Sweepers arc not usually seen in the aquarium trade.
Butterflyfishes, Angelfishes. and Their Allies (Plates 255-296)
Sea chubs (family Kyphosidae) are marine fishes of tropical to temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Most are compressed fishes with small mouths. The family is currently divided into three subfamilies, the Girellinae (nibblers). Kyphosinae (rudder-fishes), and Scorpidinae (halfmoons). The halfmoons are commonly placed in their own family. The rudderfishes obtained their common name through their habit of following ships at sea The nibblers are inshore fishes perhaps most commonly known through one of our West Coast species, the Opaleye (Girella nigricans). The halfmoons contain some popular aquarium fishes, especially the Stripey (Micmcanthtts striyatus) and the Moonlighter (Tilodon sexfascia-tus, formerly Vinculum sexfasciatum). Some of the Australian species are quite colorful but have not appeared very often in the aquarium trade.
Spadefishes (family Ephippididae) have a deep, laterally compressed body and a small mouth. The dorsal fin is continuous in Plat ax but notched between the spinous and soft-rayed portions in the other genera. They occur in tropical and subtropical oceans mostly around reefs Young spadefishes commonly occur in inshore waters among the mangroves.
Young Chaelodipterus, for example, are great mimics of dead leaves floating along the shore. Although most ephippids grow quite large with respect to home aquaria, several species are commonly maintained. Species of hatfishes (Platax) are the favorites and are almost always available. The three most common batfishes kept (as juveniles) range from easy to keep but not especially colorful (Platax orbicularis) to fairly difficult to maintain but quite pretty (P. pinnatus).
Scats (family Scatophagidae) inhabit marine and brackish inshore waters in tropical regions of the Indo-West Pacific. The body is deep and compressed and the dorsal fin is deeply notched; there are four anal fin spines. It has been reported that a toxin is associated with the spines of the dorsal fin, so these fishes should be handled with care. All scats, when available, are suitable fishes for the aquarium although Scatophagus argus is by far the most common species available. Most aquarists house them in brackish water tanks as these are most suitable for the young. Larger individuals do better in more marine environments and are seen in harbors feeding on excrement and other refuse from the ships that dock there, earning them the rather unflattering common name dung caters.
The butterflyfishes (family Chaetodontidae) arc tropical marine fishes mostly found in reef situations. They are compressed and deep-bodied bodied with attractive colors and patterns The dorsal fin is continuous, and a number of species have the snout produced to a greater or lesser extent. Common elements of the color pattern may include an eyeband and a false eyespot in the soft port ion of the dorsal fin. A larval stage called the tholichthys is present. Butterflyfishes are among the most popular of aquarium fishes, and many species are always available where marine fishes are sold. Longevity in aquaria, however, is dependent almost entirely upon the species as some are very specific in their dietary requirements (needing live coral, for example) while others are omnivorous and will accept a variety of foods.
Angelfishes (family Pomacanthidae) inhabit tropical marine waters of the world, usually around reefs. The body is commonly deep and compressed, the dorsal fin is continuous, the soft portion often provided with a filament, and there is a characteristic spine at the ancle of the preopercular bone. Most species are very colorful, some undergoing vast changes from juvenile to adult patterns and thereby confusing early workers in the group. Like butterflyfishes, they are extremely popular with marine aquarists and almost every species is a po tential aquarium inhabitant. But also like butterflyfishes, certain angelfishes are more difficult to keep than others, mostly due to the inability of the aquarist to provide proper nourishment. The pygmy angelfishes of the genus Centropyge are best suited for home aquaria, while members of the genus Pomacanthus are best kept only when young as they grow quite large. The adults make excellent displays in public aquariums.
The Oldwife. Euoplosus arrnatus (family Enoplosidac), is a southern Australian species that is compressed and deep-bodied with a deeply notched dorsal fin, both portions being somewhat extended. It makes an excellent aquarium fish when available (which isn't very often).
The armorheads (family Pcntacerotidae) are deep- to very deep-bodied, compressed fishes with the head usually encased in exposed, rough, striated bone. They occur in the Indo-l'a-cific and southwestern Atlantic oceans. They are rarely available to home aquarists and only occasionally may be seen in public aquariums.
Knifejaws (Plate 297)
Knifejaws (family Oplegnathidae) are so-called because of the parrot-like beak of fused teeth with which they are capable of crushing molluscs and crustaceans. The spinous dorsal fin is continuous, and the scales are small (in the parrotfishes, the other major family with fused teeth, the scales are large). Knifejaws are marine fishes with an unusual distribution Japan, southern Australia, Peru and the Galapagos, and South Africa. A single genus with half a dozen species comprises the family.
Surfperches (Plates 297-298)
The surfperches (family Embiotocidac) are marine fishes (with one exception, llysterocar-pus traski) inhabiting the coastal areas of the North Pacific, The dorsal fin is continuous and the scales are relatively small (35-75 in the lateral line). Surfperches are viviparous, giving birth to living young. The male impregnates the female by use of thickened anterior rays of the ana! (in. Few surfperches are kept by marine aquarists except perhaps on a local basis in California, where they are common. One of the drawbacks is their need for cooler temperatures. Surfperches are normally present in West Coast public aquariums.
Damselfishes and Clownfishes (Plates 299-336)
Damsel fishes and clownfishes or anemonefishes (family Pomacentridae) are mostly marine fishes from shallow tropical waters around the world. The nostril is single in most species and the mouth is small. The dorsal fin is continuous (somewhat notched in some anemonefishes) and the anal fin has two spines instead of the usual three of perciform fishes. Most species are small (usually less than 15 crn ) and colorful (at least in the younger stages) with an aggressive, territorial nature. All these attributes endear them to marine aquarists, many of whom started in the hobby by keeping one or more species of damselfish or anem-onefish The anemonefishes (Amphiprion and Premnas) stand out from the rest of the family not only by their general appearance (most are white and orange or orange-red in color) but by their association with anemones. These fishes live unharmed among the stinging tentacles of anemones, thus receiving protection for themselves and their eggs. They are colorful fishes that beginners are able to keep for relatively long periods of time. Humbugs (members of the genus Dascyllus) have attractive black and white color patterns and are also quite popular with aquarists. Some species also arc able to have a commensal association with anemones, but most simply shelter among the sharp branches of living coral. Of the rest of the family. almost any species would fare well in aquaria. Several favorites have emerged such as the Garibaldi (Hypsypops mbicunda), the Beaugregory (Sleyastes leucoslictus), the Jewel fish (Microspathodon chrysurus), and the Blue Devil (Chrysiptera cyemeus).
Hawkfishes and Their Relatives (Plates 337-344)
Hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidac) occur in tropical regions of the world (although most are Indo-Pacific), usually in coral reef or rocky areas. They are usually small fishes with pleasing patterns, with reds predominating. The dorsal fin is continuous, and there sometimes are cirri on the interspinous membrane. The pectoral fins are large, the lower rays thickened and sometimes extended as sensory feelers. The name hawkfishes is derived from their habit of "perching" on the highest point of a coral head waiting for prey much as a hawk woud do. Most common hawkfishes are kept by marine aquarists.
Kelpfishes (family Chironemidae) are marine fishes from the coastal waters of Australia and New Zealand. Only two genera with about four species are included in the family. The family Aplodactylidae (no common name) has three genera with five species. These fishes are coastal marine fishes with a disjunct distribution, southern Australia. New Zealand, Peru, and Chile. Both these families arc similar in general aspect to the morwongs.
Morwongs (family Cheilodactylidae) arc marine fishes of both the Southern Hemisphere (all oceans) and Northern Hemisphere (China, Japan, and the Hawaiian Islands). The dorsal fin is continuous but may be notched, and the lower four to seven pectoral fin rays are generally thickened, elongated, and detached in adults. The generic name Cheilodactylus is currently preferred to Goniistius. Morwongs are only occasionally seen in the aquarium hobby.
Trumpeters (family Latrididae) are similar fishes from the coastal areas of southern Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. There are three genera with a total of about 10 species.
Bandfishes and Owstoniids (Plate 345)
The family Owstoniidae is a small one of about a dozen species. The body is elongate and compressed, the dorsal fin continuous, and the caudal fin somewhat elongate but not connected to the other vertical fins. The lateral line runs along the base of the dorsal fin. Band-fishes (family Cepolidae) are marine fishes of the eastern Atlantic and Indo-West Pacific. The body is elongate and tapers to the tail. The many-rayed dorsal and anal fins are connected with the caudal fin and are without spines. The predominant color in both families is red or pinkish. None of the seven species are regularly available to the marine aquarist. and it is even unusual to see one displayed at public aquariums.
Mullets, Barracudas, and Threadfins (Plates 345-347)
The mullets (family Mugilidae) occur in all temperate and tropical seas in coastal marine and brackish waters. There are two separate dorsal fins, and the pelvic fins are subabdomi-nal The stomach is thick-walled and muscular and the intestine is very long. These are schooling fishes commonly found near the surface, and they are prone to leaping from the water only to fall back with an audible splat. Mud is picked up from the bottom and strained by the elongate gill rakers. Mullets are not usually considered for home aquaria.
Barracudas (family Sphyraenidae) are elongate streamlined fishes with two widely separated dorsal fins. The lower jaw is projecting, and the mouth is provided with large, fanglike teeth earning these species a reputation of being ferocious predators that will even attack man. This reputation is enhanced by their habit of following swimmers and boats, perhaps attracted by the commotion and expecting to find something to eat. Most (but not all) reports of attacks on man by barracudas are untrue or greatly exaggerated. Barracudas are attracted by shining objects (like silvery bait fishes) and may inadvertently snap at a finger with a shiny ring on it if it is dangled from a boat in water of low visibility. Although most barracudas are relatively small, the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) may attain a length of more than 1.8 m. Barracudas are kept by some marine aquarists as novelties and every public aquarium has a complement of them, especially if there is a large reef tank.
Threadfins (family Polynemidae) occur in marine and brackish waters of all tropica! and subtropical areas. They have two separate dorsal fins, a subterminal mouth, and pectoral fins that are divided into two sections, the lower portion normally with 3-7 unattached, elongate rays that arc use for detecting food.
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