Familia Exocoetidae


by N. V. Parin

Body elongated, usually (except in Parexocoetus) almost round in cross-section, but flattened ventrally. Lower jaw not prolonged; upper jaw rounded. Teeth absent or small. Lower pharyngeal bones fused into a triangular plate, third pair of upper pharyngeal bones close together but not fused. Nasal organ as a pit with protruding lobate tentacle. No spines in fins; dorsal and anal fins posterior in position, their bases opposite; pelvic fins abdominal, with 6 soft rays; pectoral fins high on sides, strikingly long; caudal fin forked, its lower lobe much longer than upper. Lateral line beginning on throat, running along ventral margin of body, without a branch to pectoral fin origin (except in Parexocoetus). Scales large, cycloid, easily detached.
Epipelagic in both oceanic and neritic zones. Locally abundant in warm waters. Plankton-feeders. Reproduce throughout the year in warm waters, seasonal (summer) outside tropics; eggs pelagic or with filaments which attach to floating or anchored vegetation or other objects. Leap out of water and glide over long distances; attracted by lights at night. Appreciated as food fishes, used as bait; fisheries developed in Japan, India, Brazil and other countries outside Clofnam area.

Genera 7; in Clofnam area 4.

Recent revision: Atlantic species treated by Bruun (1935).