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Distribution: global (mostly tropical) from 70° N to about 60° S. Chiefly marine coastal and schooling fishes; some freshwater and anadromous. Body usually fusiform, round to strongly compressed. Head without scales; jaw teeth, when present, are small or minute. A single dorsal fin, small and near midpoint of body; pelvic fins more or less below dorsal fin base; dorsal and pelvic fins absent in some species; soft rays only. Lateral line spanning a few scales behind the head in some species, missing in others; scales cycloid (smooth to touch); abdominal scutes usually present (a single pelvic scute in the Dussumieriinae). Branchiostegal rays usually 5-10. Most feed on small planktonic animals. Size range (adults): from 2 to 75 cm. One of the most important family of commercial fishes, processed for food, oil, or fish meal.


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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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