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The chaunacids are one of the more recognizable lophiiform families, with large globose heads, a conspicuous network of open sensory canals, and a single open lateral–line canal extending posteriorly along a moderately compressed trunk and tail. The angling apparatus consists of a short illicium with a terminal esca comprised of a dense cluster of short cirri. The family contains two genera and 15 species. Chaunacids live a benthic lifestyle at depths ranging from 90 to over 2000 m. Researchers at the College of Charleston recently captured a red-eyed gaper (Chaunax stigmaeus) on video sitting on the seafloor off South Carolina, U.S.A.

Chaunacids are occasionally caught as bycatch in commercial fishery operations; however, with the exception of some regions in eastern Asia, chaunacids are not marketed for human consumption.


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