Suborder

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order O suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Weeverfishes and their relatives are only loosely related to one another, so they do not have many physical characteristics in common. They can be about 2 inches (5 centimeters) to about 30 inches (76 centimeters) long. Some have snakelike bodies, and some have a familiar "fish" shape. Some have a large mouth with huge teeth. Some have no scales. Some have light-producing organs. Some have electric organs. Some have eyes on the tops of their heads and a venomous spine on the gill cover. Some have two dorsal fins and some only one very long dorsal fin. Some have one short and one long dorsal fin. Most have long anal fins. Some have large pectoral fins. The dorsal (DOOR-suhl) fin is the one along the midline of the back. The anal (AY-nuhl) fin is the one along the midline of the belly. The pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins correspond to the front legs of four-footed animals.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Weeverfishes and their relatives live in the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. One species lives only in New Zealand.

HABITAT

Most weeverfishes and their relatives live in the sea close to shore and in estuaries (EHS-chew-air-eez), or the areas where rivers meet the sea, on sandy to muddy bottoms. Some live in burrows under coral. Others live in the deep ocean. Some hug the bottom of fast-flowing freshwater streams.

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