Familia Trachinidae


by E. Tortonese

Body rather elongate and compressed. Eyes high, inter-orbital narrow; opercle with a strong, poisonous spine directed horizontally backward; snout short; mouth large, oblique or almost vertical; premaxillaries protractile; lower jaw more or less prominent; small and acute teeth on jaws, vomer and palatines. 2 dorsal fins: first dorsal fin short, with a few, poisonous spines, its colour largely black. Second dorsal and anal fins long and opposed; caudal fin not bilobed; pectoral fins with upper and middle rays forked, lower rays simple and thicker; pelvic fins jugular. Scales small, ctenoid, in evident oblique series. Gasbladder absent.
Littoral and benthic, in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic. On sandy, muddy or gravelly bottoms, from a few metres to about 150 m (in winter). Rest on the bottom, often buried with eyes and tip of first dorsal fin exposed. Feeding on small invertebrates and fishes, chiefly captured by night. Reproduction during spring and summer (in the Mediterranean); oviparous; eggs and larval stages pelagic. Used for food. Feared for their spines (dorsal and opercular) that inject a strong poison.

Genera 2, both in Clofnam area.