Familia Carangidae


by W. F. Smith-Vaniz

Body extremely variable in shape, ranging from elongate and fusiform to deep and strongly compressed; caudal peduncle of medium width to notably slender, in some species with a moderate lateral keel, bilateral paired keels or dorsal and ventral grooves. Head varying from moderately long and rounded to short, deep and very compressed; snout pointed to blunt; eye small to large, with adipose eyelid negligible to strongly developed; opercular bones smooth (but with spines in larvae and small juveniles); lower jaw protruding to subtended (included); teeth in jaws, if present, in rows or bands, either small to minute or an enlarged row of canines present; teeth on roof of mouth (vomer, palatines) or tongue present or absent depending on species or developmental stage; gill openings large, gill membranes not united, free from isthmus; branchiostegal rays 6-10 (usually 7); gillrakers moderate in length and number to long and numerous, their number decreasing with growth in some species. 2 dorsal fins, the first of moderate height or very low, with 48 spines (the spines obsolete or embedded in adults of some species), the second dorsal fin with 1 spine and 18-37 rays and the anterior lobe scarcely produced to extremely long; anal fin with 2 anterior spines (except 1 spine in Elagatis) that become embedded in adults of some species, followed by 1 spine and 15-31 rays, with the anterior lobe low to elongate; pectoral fins with 1 spine and about 14-24 rays, either long and falcate or short and pointed or rounded; pelvic fins with 1 spine and 5 rays, moderately long in some species to becoming rudimentary in others; caudal fin forked, with the lobes equal in most species. Scales small, sometimes difficult to see, and cycloid, but ctenoid in two species and strongly lanceolate on chest in Lichia; lateral line arched or elevated antenorly and straight posteriorly, extending onto caudal fin; scutes (enlarged, thickened, and often pointed scales in lateral line) present and prominent or reduced in some species and absent in some genera. Vertebrae 10 or 11 + 14 to 17 (24-27 total, usually 10 + 14).
Mostly schooling species (but Alectis generally solitary); some species have largely continental distributions and occur primarily in brackish environments (especially young), others such as Naucrates and Elagatis are pelagic, usually found at or near the surface, mostly in oceanic waters and have circumglobal distributions. A few species have disjunct antitropical distributions, but most occur in shallow tropical waters. Some genera, including Trachurus, usually occur in dense schools near the bottom in depths of 100-200 m but may extend to 500 m. Feeding varies from planktonic invertebrates (primarily copepods), shrimps, crabs, benthic molluscs, squid to primarily fish. All have pelagic eggs and spawning generally occurs during the summer. Some species are highly sought by sport fishermen and valued as table food, others mainly utilized for fishmeal and oil. Caught commercially with trawls, purse seines, traps and on line gear.

Genera about 25; in Clofnam area 14.

Recent revisions (on a regional basis only): Tortonese (1952), SmithVaniz and Berry (1981), Berry and Cohen (1974 -genus Trachurus), Shaboneyev (1980).