Identifying Tropical fishes of the Western Atlantic

This discussion topic submitted by Ken Tserng ( on 5/23/98.

I will be talking about the identification of the many different species of fish we will encounter in the Florida Keys and San Salvador. fish will be classified into different groups for easier identification. This is a brief outline of what I will be talking about.

A. Disks and Ovals
1. Butterflyfishes
2. Surgeonfishes
3. Angelfishes
4. Sea Chubs

B. Silvery gray, forked tails, strong swimmers, predators
1. Jacks
2. Tarpons
3. Porgies
4. Needlefishes

C. Sloping head, tapered body, large mouth, basic fish shape
1. Grunts
2. Snappers

D. small ovals
1. Damselfishes
2. Dwarf Sea Basses

E. Heavy Body, Large Lips, Two Part Dorsal Fins
1. Basslets
2. Dwarf Sea Basses
3. Sea Basses
4. Goatfishes
5. Trumpetfishes

F. Swim w/Pectoral Fins, Obvious Scales
1. Parrotfishes
2. Wrasses
3. Boxfishes
4. Spiny puffers
5. Leatherjackets

G. reddish, Big eyes, Nocturnal
1. squirrelfishes
2. Cardinalfishes

H. small, Elongated Bottom-dwellers
1. Clinids
2. Lizardfishes
3. Jawfishes
4. Tilefishes
5. Lefteye Flounders
6. flying Gurnards
7. Drums

I. Morays

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