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They are divided by Dr. Günther into four groups. The Heterolepidina (comprising 4 genera and 12 species) are confined to the North Pacific. The Scorpænina (23 genera 113 species) have an almost universal distribution, but the genera are each restricted to one or other of the great oceans. Sebastes has occurred on the English coast. The Cottina (28 genera 110 species) have also a universal distribution ; the numerous species of Cottus are found either in the seas or fresh waters of Europe and North America ; four species are British, as well as seven species of the wide-spread genus Trigla. Ptyonotus (1 sp.) is confined to Lake Ontario. The Cataphracti (5 genera, 23 species) have also a wide range ; one genus, Agonus, is found in the British seas, and also in Kamschatka and on the coast of Chili. Peristethus is also British.
FAMILY 11.—TRACHINIDÆ. (24 Genera, 90 Species.) “ Carnivorous marine fishes, with elongate bodies, living at the bottom, near the shore."
DISTRIBUTION.—Almost or quite universal.
Trachinus is a British genus. A species of Aphritis inhabits the fresh waters of Tasmania, while its two allies are found on the coasts of Patagonia.
FAMILY 12. SCIÆNIDÆ. (13 Genera, 102 Species.)
Marine or fresh-water fishes, with compressed and rather elongate bodies, covered with toothed scales."
DISTRIBUTION.- Temperate and tropical regions, but absent from Australia.
Larimus is found in the Atlantic, and in African and American rivers. Corvina, Sciæna, and Otilothus are also marine and freshwater, both in the Atlantic and Pacific. The other genera are of small extent and more restricted range. Umbrina and Sciena have occurred in British seas.
FAMILY 13.–POLYNEMIDÆ. (3 Genera, 23 Species.) “ Marine or fresh-water fishes, with compressed oblong bodies and entire or ciliated scales."
DISTRIBUTION.—Tropical seas and rivers of both the great oceans, but most abundant in the Pacific.
FAMILY 14.—SPHYRENIDÆ. (1 Genus, 15 Species.) “Carnivorous marine fishes, with elongate sub-cylindrical bodies covered with small cycloid scales.”
DISTRIBUTION.—The warm and tropical seas of the globe.
FAMILY 15.—TRICHIURIDÆ. (7 Genera, 18 Species.) "Marine fishes, with elongate compressed bodies covered with minute scales or naked.”
DISTRIBUTION.--All the tropical and sub-tropical seas.
FAMILY 16.-SCOMBRIDÆ. (20 Genera, 108 Species.) "Marine fishes, with elongate compressed bodies, scaled or naked."
DISTRIBUTION.-All the temperate and tropical oceans. Mostly inhabiting the open seas.
Scomber, (the Mackerel) Thynnus, Naucrates, Zeus, Centrolophus, Brama, and Lampris, are genera which have occurred in the British seas.
FAMILY 17.—CARANGIDÆ (27 Genera, 171 Species.)
"Marine fishes, with compressed oblong or elevated bodies covered with small scales or naked."
DISTRIBUTION. — All temperate and tropical seas ; some species occur in both the great oceans, ranging from New York to Australia.
Trachurus and Capros are genera which occur in British seas.
FAMILY 18.—XIPHIIDÆ. (2 Genera, 8 Species.) “Marine fishes, with elongate compressed body and a produced sword-shaped upper jaw.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Mediterranean, and open seas between or near the Tropics.
Xiphias (the Sword-fish) has occurred on the English coast.
FAMILY 19.-GOBIIDÆ. (24 Genera, 294 Species.) « Carnivorous fishes, with elongate low, naked, or scaly bodies, living at the bottom of the shallow seas or fresh waters of temperate or tropical regions. Individuals of the same species often differ in inhabiting exclusively fresh or salt water.
DISTRIBUTION.- All temperate and tropical regions, from Scotland and Japan to New Zealand. Species of Gobius, Latrunculus, and Callionymus occur in Britain.
Several genera are confined to the East Indian seas and rivers, but none seem peculiar to America. The genus Periopthalmus consists of the curious, large-headed, projecting-eyed fishes, so abundant on the muddy shores of African and Eastern tidal rivers, and which seem to spend most of their time out of water, hunting after insects, &c.
FAMILY 20.—DISCOBOLI. (2 Genera, 11 Species.) “Carnivorous fishes, with oblong naked or tubercular bodies, living at the bottom of shallow seas, and attaching themselves to rocks by means of a ventral disc.
DISTRIBUTION.-All northern seas, as far south as Belgium, England, and San Francisco.
Species of both genera (Cyclopterus and Liparis) occur in British seas.
FAMILY 21.-OXUDERCIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.) “A marine fish, with an elongate sub-cylindrical body and no ventral fins."
FAMILY 22.–BATRACHIDÆ. (3 Genera, 12 Species.) “Marine fishes, with sub-cylindrical body and broad depressed head.”
DISTRIBUTION.—The coasts of nearly all tropical and south temperate regions, ranging from New York and Portugal to Chili and Tasmania.
FAMILY 23.—PEDICULATI. (8 Genera, 40 Species.) "Marine carnivorous fishes, with very large heads and without scales."
DISTRIBUTION.-Seas of all temperate and tropical regions, extending south to New Zealand and north to Greenland.
A species of Lophius (the Fishing-frog or Sea-Devil) is found in British seas. The genus Antennarius, comprising two-thirds of the species, is wholly tropical.
FAMILY 24.-BLENNIDÆ. (33 Genera, 201 Species.) “ Carnivorous fishes, with long sub-cylindrical naked bodies, living at the bottom of shallow water in seas, or tidal rivers."
DISTRIBUTION.--All seas from the Arctic regions to New Zealand, Chili, and the Cape of Good Hope.
Species of Anarrhichas, Blennius, Blenniops, Centronotus and Zoarces occur in British seas. Chasmodes (3 sp.) is confined to the Atlantic coasts of Temperate North America; Petroscirtes (26 sp.) to the tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans ; and Stichæus (9 sp.) to the Arctic Seas.
FAMILY 25.-ACANTHOCLINIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
A carnivorous marine fish, with long flat body and very long dorsal fin."
DISTRIBUTION.—Coasts of New Zealand.
FAMILY 26.–COMEPHORIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
) “An elongate, naked, large-headed fish, with two dorsal fins.” DISTRIBUTION.—Lake Baikal.
Dr. Günther remarks, that this fish approaches the Scombrina (Mackerel) in several characters. These are exclusively marine fishes, while Lake Baikal is fresh-water, and is situated among mountains, at an elevation of nearly 2000 feet, and more than a thousand miles from the ocean!
FAMILY 27.-TRACHYPTERIDÆ. (3 Genera, 16 Species.)
"Deep sea fishes, with elongate, much compressed, naked bodies.”
DISTRIBUTION.-Europe, East Indies, West Coast of South America, New Zealand. Dr. Günther remarks, that little is known of these fishes, from their being so seldom thrown on shore, and then rapidly decomposing. The Ribbon-fish (Regalecus banksiz) has occurred frequently on our shores. They have soft bones and muscles, small mouths, and weak dentition.
FAMILY 28.—LOPHOTIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.) “A marine fish, with elongate compressed naked body, and high crested head.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Mediterranean Sea and Japan.