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DistributionDistribution: tropical and subtropical Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Dorsal fin rays shorter than opposite anal rays. Anus of adults and origin of anal fin located behind head and usually under pectoral fin. No scales. Wide gill openings, reaching far forward. Vomerine, palatine and jaw teeth present. No opercular spines. Branchiostegal rays 6-7. No supramaxillary. Vertebrae about 85-145. Vexillum present in larvae. Pearlfishes are free-living (Echiodon), commensal (Carapus, Onuxodon), or parasitic (Encheliophis, Jordanicus), living in association with shallow-water invertebrate hosts (holothurians, bivalves, starfishes), largely in coral-dominated communities. Family members occur in shelf and slope waters of 0-2,000 m depth and range from about 65°N to 60°S.