Saturday, June 19, 2010
June 19, 2010 : Flathead Fish
Platycephalidae is a family of marine fishes, most commonly referred to as flatheads. They are relatives of the popular lionfishes, belonging to the order Scorpaeniformes.
Members of the family can be found naturally in coastal waters throughout the Indo-Pacific. A few species have been caught in the eastern Mediterranean, having traveled there from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal.
Platycephalids are small-to-medium-sized fishes. Most species are small, reaching an average of 10 cm in length. However, a few species in the genus Platycephalus are known to grow up to a meter in length. Their most distinctive characteristic is the flattened shape of their heads. While the rest of their body is shaped similarly to other fishes that inhabit the areas they frequent, their heads are triangularly-shaped and dorso-ventrally depressed, giving them the shape of a trowel or an artist's spatula. Their eyes are situated on the upper surface, in accordance with their bottom-dwelling lifestyle. They possess two complete dorsal fins, the first one supported by six-to-nine strong spines.