Larval Fishes from Carrie Bow Cay, Belize - National Museum of Natural History - Division of FishesLarval Fishes Home

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Larval Fish: Family Monacanthidae

File fishes (Monacanthidae) have a larval stage that is ecologically and behaviorally different from the adult but not greatly different in appearance. They have a rather direct development with gradual changes in proportion and color. They often drift long distances in the open ocean among clumps of sargassum or other floating objects. Larvae of two genera and three species have been collected at Carrie Bow Cay.

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Aluterus schoepfi, USNM 353531

Aluterus schoepfi, 7.5 mm SL, USNM 353531. Identified by its fin-ray counts.


Monacanthus ciliatus, USNM 353975

Monacanthus ciliatus, 16 mm SL, USNM 353975. The two species of Monacanthus are distinguished most readily by the difference in the shape of the head and snout. In M. ciliatus the snout is shorter with a straight dorsal profile. The color is greenish-yellow.


Monacanthus tuckeri, USNM 353950

Monacanthus tuckeri, 13 mm SL, USNM 353950. The head and snout are longer than those of M. ciliatus, and the profile is distinctly concave. The prevailing color is reddish.


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