Marine Fishes of North Carolina

The marine fishes of North Carolina are much more difficult to quantify than the freshwater fishes. Freshwater fishes are contained in the particular river, creek, or lake in which they live, but non-native marine fishes could potentially get caught in the Gulf Stream, or drift with changing weather, and end up in state waters. Technically, North Carolina state waters only extend three miles from the coast, so many of the “marine fishes of North Carolina” that anglers come to the state to catch, don’t even live in the state!

In an attempt to make sense of what actually qualifies as a marine fish from the state, we have put together a rough and unreviewed list based on state and federal data sets and personal observations. Authored by Fritz Rohde (National Marine Fisheries Service), Scott Smith (North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries), and Christina Schobernd (National Marine Fisheries Service), it is the most complete compilation of its type that we are familiar with, and includes marine fishes that live off the coast of the state, without regard to the territorial 3-mile limit.

Hippocampus erectus
Northern Seahorse – Hippocampus erectus

Family names (listed below in alphabetical order), scientific names, and common names follow the California Academy of Sciences’ Catalog of Fishes Online Database (; Fricke et al. 2020) and Page et al. (2013).

If you wish to browse our photographic library of the fishes instead, please see the following page: Marine Fishes Photograph Gallery.


Surgeonfishes – Deep-bodied, laterally compressed, and round to oval in profile. Head profile is steep. The eyes are relatively small. Mouth is small and not protrusible. Dorsal fin is continuous. The lateral caudal peduncle has one or more spines or keeled, bony plates (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Acanthurus bahianus – Ocean Surgeon
Acanthurus chirurgus – Doctorfish
Acanthurus coeruleus – Blue Tang

American Soles – Deep-bodied and laterally compressed. The mouth is small. The eyes are small to minute and right-facing. The preopercular margin is concealed or appears as a groove. Pectoral fins are small to absent. Eyed-side pelvic fin may be free or joined to the anal fin (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Achirus lineatus – Lined Sole
Gymnachirus melas – Naked Sole
Trinectes maculatus – Hogchocker

Sturgeons – Elongate and stout with a five rows of keeled, bony scutes on body. The head is covered in bony plates. The mouth is inferior and preceded by four barbels (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Acipenser brevirostrum – Shortnose Sturgeon
Acipenser oxyrinchus – Atlantic Sturgeon


Synagrops bellus – Blackmouth Bass
Synagrops spinosus – Keelcheek Bass
Synagrops trispinosus – Threespine Bass

Bonefishes – Elongate and cylindrical in shape with a single dorsal fin and a deeply forked caudal fin. The snout is conical and the mouth is subterminal. The body is translucent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Albula vulpes – Bonefish

Lancetfishes – Elongate, slender, and laterally compressed. The mouth is large and toothy and extends past the large eyes. The dorsal fin is long-based and sail-like. A small adipose fin is present. The caudal peduncle has a lateral keel (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Alopias superciliosus – Bigeye Threshere
Alopias vulpinus – Common Thresher Shark


Ammodytes americanus – American Sand Lance


Anguilla rostrata – American Eel

Frogfishes – Very small to medium-sized with rounded bodies. The mouth is large, oblique, and toothy. Gill openings are located behind the pectoral fin. The first dorsal-fin spine is separate and modified and bears a lure. Pectoral fins are elongate and leg-like (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Antennarius striatus – Striated Frogfish
Fowlerichthys ocellatus – Oscellated Frogfish
Fowlerichthys radiosus – Singlespot Frogfish
Histrio histrio – Sargassumfish


Apogon affinis – Bigtooth Cardinalfish
Apogon gouldi – Deepwater Cardinalfish
Apogon maculatus -Flamefish
Apogon pseudomaculatus – Twospot Cardinalfish
Astrapogon alutus – Bronze Cardinalfish
Phaeoptyx conklini – Freckled Cardinalfish


Argentina silus – Atlantic Argentine
Argentina striata – Striated Argentine
Glossanodon pygmaeus – Pygmy Argentine

Sea Catfishes – Moderately elongate with long barbels around a broad mouth, The head is depressed and has a bony shield. Dorsal and pectoral fins possess serrated spines. An adipose fin is always present. The skin is scaleless (Kells and Carpenter 2011).
Ariommatids – small, slender to moderately deep-bodied, and laterally compressed to rounded in cross-section. The mouth is small, the snout is short and blunt. Dorsal fins are separate. First dorsal fin and pelvic fins insert into a groove. Second dorsal and anal fins are about the same shape. Two low, fleshy keels on caudal-fin base (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Ariomma bondi – Silver-rag
Ariomma melanum – Brown Driftfish
Ariomma regulus – Spotted Driftfish


Membras martinica – Rough Silverside
Menidia beryllina – Inland Silverside
Menidia menidia – Atlantic Silverside

Flagfins – Elongate and oval in cross-section. The mouth is wide and toothy. The single dorsal fin is expanded and originates on the anterior one-third of the body. An adipose fin is present (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Aulopus filamentosus – Yellowfin Aulopus


Aulostomus maculatus – Atlantic Trumpetfish


Balistes capriscus – Gray Triggerfish
Balistes vetula – Queen Triggerfish
Canthidermis maculata – Rough Triggerfish
Canthidermis sufflamen – Ocean Triggerfish
Xanthichthys ringens – Sargassum Triggerfish


Bathysaurus ferox – Deepsea Lizardfish
Bathysaurus mollis – Highfin Lizardfish

Toadfishes – Small to medium in size. The head is broad and flattened, with eyes on top. Barbels or fleshy tabs are sometimes around mouth and head. First dorsal fin has two or three spines. Pelvic fins are on the throat.

Opsanus species – Undescribed species of Opsanus
Opsanus tau – Oyster Toadfish
Porichthys plectrodon – Atlantic Midshipman

Needlefishes – Long and slender with long, pointed jaws. The mouth has many sharp teeth. Single dorsal and anal fins are near the tail. Caudal fin may be emarginate or asymmetrical. Body is either oval or round in cross-section (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Ablennes hians – Flat Needlefish
Platybelone argalus – Keeltail Needlefish
Strongylura marina – Atlantic Needlefish
Tylosurus acus – Atlantic Agujón
Tylosurus crocodilus – Houndfish


Beryx decadactylus – Red Bream
Beryx splendens – Splendid Alfonsino


Chasmodes bosquianus – Striped Blenny
Hypleurochilus geminatus – Crested Blenny
Hypsoblennius hentz – Feather Blenny
Hypsoblennius ionthas – Freckled Blenny
Ophioblennius macclurei – Redlip Blenny
Parablennius marmoreus – Seaweed Blenny
Scartella cristata – Molly Miller

Lefteye Flounders – Somewhat to very deep-bodied and laterally compressed. The mouth is moderate to large and protrusible. eyes are left-facing (rarely right-facing) and are close-set or widely separated. Pelvic fin on eyed side is larger and with longer base than blind-side fin (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Bothus ocellatus – Eyed Flounder
Bothus robinsi – Twospot Flounder
Engyophrys senta – Spiny Flounder
Monolene antillarum – Slim Flounder
Monolene sessilicauda – Deepwater Flounder
Trichopsetta ventralis – Sash Flounder

Pomfrets – Medium to large, laterally compressed, and round to teardrop-shaped. The eyes are large. The lower jaw protrudes. Dorsal and anal fins are long-based and may be either low, lobed, or fan-like. Scales covering head and body re large and often keeled (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Brama brama – Atlantic Pomfret
Brama caribbea – Carribean Pomfret
Brama dussumieri – Lowfin Pomfret
Pterycombus brama – Atlantic Fanfish
Taractes rubescens – Keeltail Pomfret
Taractichthys longipinnis – Bigscale Pomfret


Stygnobrotula latebricola – Black Brotula
Bythites gerdae – (No Common Name) Viviparous Brotula
Thalassobathia sp. – (No Common Name) Viviparous Brotula
Diplacanthopoma sp. – (No Common Name) Viviparous Brotula


Diplogrammus pauciradiatus – Spotted Dragonet
Foetorepus agassizii – Spotfin Dragonet
Paradiplogrammus bairdi – Lancer Dragonet


Antigonia capros – Deepbody Boarfish
Antigonia combatia – SHortspine Boarfish

Jacks and Pompanos – Small to large fishes with body shapes varying from deep and compressed to elongate and fusiform. The eyes have an adipose lid that is either poorly or strongly developed. First dorsal fin may be well-developed or series of spines. Most have a forked caudal fin. First 1 or 2 anal fin spines are separate and may be embedded. Many have bony scutes along lateral line. Body shape and coloring change dramatically with age (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Alectis ciliaris – African Pompano
Caranx bartholomaei – Yellow Jack
Caranx crysos – Blue Runner
Caranx hippos – Crevalle Jack
Caranx latus – Horse-eye Jack
Caranx lugubris – Black Jack
Caranx ruber – Bar Jack
Chloroscombrus chrysurus – Atlantic Bumper
Decapterus macarellus – Mackerel Scad
Decapterus punctatus – Round Scad
Decapterus tabl – Redtail Scad
Elagatis bipinnulata – Rainbow Runner
Hemicaranx amblyrhynchus – Bluntnose Jack
Naucrates ductor – Pilotfish
Oligoplites saurus – Leatherjack
Pseudocaranx dentex – White Trevally
Selar crumenophthalmus– Bigeye Scad
Selene setapinnis – Atlantic Moonfish
Selene vomer – Lookdown
Seriola dumerili – Greater Amberjack
Seriola fasciata – Lesser Amberjack
Seriola rivoliana – Almaco Jack
Seriola zonata – Banded Rudderfish
Trachinotus carolinus – Florida Pompano
Trachinotus falcatus – Permit
Trachinotus goodei – Palometa
Trachurus lathami – Rough Scad
Uraspis secunda – Cottonmouth Jack


Carapus bermudensis – Pearlfish


Carcharhinus acronotus – Blacknose Shark
Carcharhinus brevipinna – Spinner Shark
Carcharhinus falciformis – Silky Shark
Carcharhinus isodon – Finetooth Shark
Carcharhinus leucas – Bull Shark
Carcharhinus limbatus – Blacktip Shark
Carcharhinus longimanus – Pceanic Whitetip Shark
Carcharhinus obscurus – Dusky Shark
Carcharhinus plumbeus – Sandbar Shark
Galeocerdo cuvier – Tiger Shark
Negaprion brevirostris – Lemon Shark
Prionace glauca – Blue Shark
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae – Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

Medusafishes – Medium to large and elongate to robust. The mouth is relatively large. The jaws have a single row of small, conical teeth. The dorsal fin is continuous and the caudal peduncle is thick. Pelvic fins insert into a groove (Kells and Carpenter 2011).
Snooks – Moderately elongate and laterally compressed. The mouth is large with a protruding jaw. Preopercles have a serrated lower margin. Head profile is almost straight to concave. Lateral lines is well developed and extends onto caudal fin, which is forked. Dorsal fins are separate. Anal fin has three strong spines, the second being the stoutest (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Centropomus undecimalis – Common Snook


Cetorhinus maximus – Basking Shark


Emblemaria atlantica – Banner Blenny
Emblemaria piratula – Pirate Blenny

Butterflyfishes – Oval, round, or rhomboid in profile, deep-bodied, and compressed. The mouth is small and the snout is blunt to long and pointed. Preopercular margin may be serrated, but a prolonged spine is absent at the lower angle. Dorsal fin is continuous to slightly notched. Spiny portion may be tall and deeply incised (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Chaetodon capistratus – Foureye Butterflyfish
Chaetodon ocellatus – Spotfin Butterflyfish
Chaetodon sedentarius – Reef Butterflyfish
Chaetodon striatus – Banded Butterflyfish
Prognathodes aculeatus – Longsnout Butterflyfish
Prognathodes aya – Bank Butterflyfish
Prognathodes guyanensis – Guyana Butterflyfish


Chlorophthalmus agassizi – Shortnose Greeneye
Parasudis truculenta – Longnose Greeneye

Herrings – Cylindrical in shape or laterally compressed. The body is typically silvery. The mouth is usually upturned and may have a notch at the upper jaw tip. A row of scutes is usually present along the abdomen. The dorsal fin is single, the caudal fin is deeply forked (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Alosa aestivalis – Blueback Herring
Alosa mediocris – Hickory Shad
Alosa pseudoharengus – Alewife
Alosa sapidissima – American Shad
Brevoortia smithi – Yellowfin Menhaden
Brevoortia tyrannus – Menhaden
Clupea harengus – Atlantic Herring
Dorosoma cepedianum – Gizzard Shad
Dorosoma petenense – Threadfin Shad
Harengula jaguana – Scaled Sardine
Opisthonema oglinum – Atlantic Thread Herring
Sardinella aurita – Spanish Sardine


Ariosoma balearicum – Bandtooth Conger
Bathycongrus dubius – Dubious Conger
Bathycongrus vicinalis – Neighbor Conger
Conger oceanicus – Conger Eel
Gnathophis bracheatopos – Longeye Conger
Heteroconger luteolus – Yellow Garden Eel
Paraconger caudilimbatus – Margintail Conger
Rhynchoconger flavus – Yellow Conger
Rhynchoconger gracilior – Whiptail Conger
Uroconger syringinus – Threadtail Conger

Dolphinfishes – elongate and laterally compressed. The head profile is rounded in females, steeply sloping in adult males. The spineless dorsal fin originates on the head and reaches to the caudal peduncle. Caudal fin is deeply forked (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Coryphaena equiselis – Pompano Dolphinfish
Coryphaena hippurus – Dolphnfish

Tonguefishes – Moderately deep-bodied and laterally compressed. The body is lance- or tongue-shaped and tapers to a blunt or pointed tail. The mouth is small. Eyes are small and left-facing. Dorsal and anal fins are confluent with caudal fin. Pectoral fins are absent. Eyed-side pelvic fin, when present, is confluent with anal fin. Lateral line is absent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Symphurus billykrietei – Chocolatebanded Tonguefish
Symphurus civitatium – Offshore Tonguefish
Symphurus diomedeanus – Spottedfin Tonguefish
Symphurus marginatus – Margined Tonguefish
Symphurus minor – Largescaled Tonguefish
Symphurus nebulosus – Freckled Tonguefish
Symphurus plagiusa – Blackcheek Tonguefish
Symphurus pusillus – Spottail Tonguefish
Symphurus urospilus Spottail Tonguefish

Pupfishes – Small, long, and robust to short and deep-bodied. The single dorsal fin is located posteriorly. Pectoral fins are set low on the body. Caudal peduncle and caudal fin are broad. Females are larger than males (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Cyprinodon variegatus – Sheepshead Minnow


Dactylopterus volitans – Flying Gurnard


Dactyloscopus moorei – Speckled Stargazer
Dactyloscopus tridigitatus – Sand Stargazer


Dalatias licha – Kitefin Shark


Bathytoshia centroura – Roughtail Stingray
Hypanus americanus – Southern Stingray
Hypanus sabinus – Atlantic Stingray
Hypanus say – Bluntnose Stingray


Chilomycterus antillarum – Web Burrfish
Chilomycterus reticulatus – Spotted Burrfish
Chilomycterus schoepfi – Striped Burrfish
Diodon eydouxii – Pelagic Porcupinefish
Diodon holocanthus – Balloonfish
Diodon hystrix – Porcupinefish

Round Herring – Etrumeus sadina

Echeneis naucrates – Sharksucker
Echeneis neucratoides– Whitefin Sharksucker
Phtheirichthys lineatus – Slender Suckerfish
Remora australis – Whalesucker
Remora brachyptera – Spearfish Remora
Remora osteochir – Marlinsucker
Remora remora – Remora


Dormitator maculatus – Fat Sleeper
Eleotris amblyopsis – Largescaled Spinycheek Sleeper
Erotelis smaragdus – Emerald Sleeper

Tenpounders (Ladyfishes) – Elongate and cylindrical in shape. The upper jaw extends past the eye. The single dorsal fin has a concave margin. The caudal fin is deeply forked (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Elops saurus – Ladyfish


Erythrocles monodi – Crimson Rover

Anchovies – Relatively small with a blunt, rounded snout and a single dorsal fin. The snout extends beyond the jaws which are long, slender, and extend almost to end of gill cover. Eyes are large. Lateral line is absent. All have a thin to wide silvery lateral stripe. Scales are delicate and easily shed (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Anchoa cubana – Cuban Anchovy
Anchoa hepsetus – Striped Anchovy
Anchoa lyolepis – Dusky Anchovy
Anchoa mitchilli – Bay Anchovy
Anchoviella perfasciata – Flat Anchovy
Engraulis eurystole – Silver Anchovy


Chaetodipterus faber – Spadefish


Etmopterus gracilispinis – Broadband Lantern Shark

Flyingfishes – Small to medium-sized with very long pectoral fins that are set high on the body. The pectoral fins almost always extend past the dorsal-fin origin. Pelvic fins are usually expanded. The caudal fin is deeply forked with a long lower lobe. The lateral line is along the lower margin of the body (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Cheilopogon cyanopterus – Margined Flyingfish
Cheilopogon exsiliens – Bandwing Flyingfish
Cheilopogon furcatus – Spotfin Flyingfish
Cheilopogon heterurus – Blotchwing Flyingfish
Cheilopogon melanurus – Atlantic Flyingfish
Cypselurus comatus – Clearwing Flyingfish
Exocoetus obtusirostris – Oceanic Two-wing Flyingfish
Exocoetus volitans – Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish
Hirundichthys affinis – Fourwing Flyingfish
Hirundichthys rondeletii – Blackwing Flyingfish
Parexocoetus hillianus – Sailfin Flyingfish
Prognichthys occidentalis – Bluntnose Flyingfish


Fistularia petimba – Red Cornetfish
Fistularia tabacaria – Bluespotted Cornetfish

Topminnows – Small with elongate to moderately deep bodies. The head is usually flattened. The snout is short and the mouth is protrusible. The lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper. The single dorsal fin is located posterior to midlength. Males have larger anal fins than females. Females are larger than males (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Fundulus confluentus – Marsh Killifish
Fundulus heteroclitus – Mummichog
Fundulus luciae – Spotfin Killifish
Fundulus majalis – Striped Killifish
Lucania parva – Rainwater Killifish


Gadus morhua – Atlantic Cod
Pollachius virens – Pollock


Apeltes quadracus – Fourspine Stickelback

Snake Mackerels – Very elongate to moderately deep-bodied. The lower jaw protrudes. Teeth are strong, some are fang-like. First dorsal fin is long-based. Finlets follow second dorsal fin in some species. Pelvic fins are small, rudimentary, or absent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Diplospinus multistriatus – Striped Escolar
Gempylus serpens – Snake Mackerel
Lepidocybium flavobrunneum – Escolar
Nealotus tripes – Black Snake Mackerel
Nesiarchus nasutus – Black Gemfish
Promethichthys prometheus – Roudi Escolar
Ruvettus pretiosus – Oilfish


Diapterus auratus – Irish Pompano
Eucinostomus argenteus – Spotfin Mojarra
Eucinostomus gula – Silver Jenny
Eucinostomus harengulus – Tidewater Mojarra
Eucinostomus jonesi – Slender Mojarra
Eucinostomus lefroyi – Mottled Mojarra
Eucinostomus melanopterus – Galfin Mojarra
Eugerres plumieri – Striped Mojarra
Gerres cinereus – Yellowfin Mojarra


Ginglymostoma cirratum – Nurse Shark


Gobiesox strumosus – Skilletfish


Awaous banana – River Goby
Bathygobius soporator – Frillfin Goby
Bollmannia sp. – Goby sp.
Coryphopterus glaucofraenum – Bridled Goby
Coryphopterus punctipectophorus – Spotted Goby
Ctenogobius boleosoma – Darter Goby
Ctenogobius saepepallens – Dash Goby
Ctenogobius shufeldti – Freshwater Goby
Ctenogobius smaragdus – Emerald Goby
Ctenogobius stigmaticus – Marked Goby
Elacatinus xanthiprora – Yellowprow Goby
Evermannichthys spongicola – Sponge Goby
Evorthodus lyricus – Lyre Goby
Gnatholepis thompsoni – Goldspot Goby
Gobioides broussonnetii – Violet Goby
Gobionellus oceanicus – Highfin Goby
Gobiosoma bosc – Naked Goby
Gobiosoma ginsburgi – Seaboard Goby
Gobiosoma robustum – Code Goby
Lythrypnus elasson – Dwarf Goby
Lythrypnus phorellus – Convict Goby
Lythrypnus spilus – Bluegold Goby
Microgobius carri – Seminole Goby
Microgobius gulosus _ Clown Goby
Microgobius thalassinus – Green Goby
Priolepis hipoliti – Rusty Goby


Grammicolepis brachiusculus – Thorny Tinselfish
Xenolepidichthys dalgleishi – Spotted Tinselfish


Fenestraja plutonia – Underworld Windowskate


Gymnura altavela – Spiny Butterfly Ray
Gymnura micrura – Smooth Butterfly Ray

Grunts – Oblong, moderately deep-bodied, and compressed. The dorsal head profile is almost straight to convex. The snout is moderately short to long. Mouth is small to moderate with thick lips. Dorsal fin is continuous and unnotched. Scales are absent on snout and lips (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Haemulon aurolineatum – Tomtate
Haemulon melanurum – Cottonwick
Haemulon plumierii – White Grunt
Haemulon sciurus – Bluestriped Grunt
Haemulon striatum – Striped Grunt
Orthopristis chrysoptera – Pigfish

Halfbeaks – Elongate and slender. The upper jaw is short; the lower jaw is usually very long with a fleshy tip. Single dorsal and anal fins are near the tail. The pectoral fins are short to long and set high on the body. Scales are easily shed. Lateral line runs near lower margin of body (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Euleptorhamphus velox – Flying Halfbeak
Hemiramphus balao – Balao
Hemiramphus brasiliensis – Ballyhoo
Hyporhamphus unifasciatus – Atlantic Silverstripe Halfbeak
Hyporhamphus meeki – False Silverstripe Halfbeak
Oxyporhamphus micropterus – Smallwing Flyingfish


Heptranchias perlo – Sharpnose Sevengill Shark
Hexanchus griseus – Bluntnose Sixgill Shark


Corniger spinosus – Spinycheek Squirrelfish
Holocentrus adscensionis – Squirrelfish
Holocentrus rufus – Longspine Squirrelfish
Myripristis jacobus – Blackbar Soldierfish
Ostichthys trachypoma – Bigeye Soldierfish
Sargocentron bullisi – Deepwater Squirrelfish


Inermia vittata – Boga


Bathytyphlops sp. – (No Common Name) Tripod Fish

Billfishes – Elongate and moderately compressed. The body tapers from head to tail. The upper jaw forms a spear-like bill that is round in cross section. First dorsal fin is long-based and sail-like in one species. The first dorsal and first anal fins insert into grooves. Pelvic fins are long and narrow. The caudal peduncle is shallowly notched in front of the caudal-fin base. Caudal fin with two keels at base (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Istiophorus platypterus – Sailfish
Kajikia albida – White Marlin
Makaira nigricans – Blue Marlin
Tetrapturus pfluegeri – Longbill Spearfish

Sea Chubs – Oval to oblong in profile and moderately compressed. The head is short, the snout is blunt. The mouth is small and horizontal. The dorsal fin is continuous, with the spiny portion depressible into a groove (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Kyphosus incisor – Yellow Chub
Kyphosus sectatrix – Bermuda Chub


Bodianus pulchellus – Spotfin Hogfish
Bodianus rufus – Spanish Hogfish
Decodon puellaris – Red Hogfish
Halichoeres bathyphilus – Greenband Wrasse
Halichoeres bivittatus – Slippery Wrasse
Halichoeres caudalis – Painted Wrasse
Halichoeres cyanocephalus – Yellowcheek Wrasse
Halichoeres garnoti – Yellowhead Wrasse
Halichoeres poeyi – Blackear Wrasse
Halichoeres radiatus – Puddingwife
Lachnolaimus maximus – Hogfish
Tautoga onitis – Tautog
Tautogolabrus adspersus – Cunner
Thalassoma bifasciatum – Bluehead
Xyrichtys novacula – Pearly Razorfish


Labrisomus nuchipinnis – Hairy Blenny
Starksia ocellata – Checkered Blenny


Carcharodon carcharias – White Shark
Isurus oxyrinchus – Shortfin Mako
Isurus paucus – Longfin Mako
Lamna nasus – Porbeagle


Lampris guttatus – Opah


Careproctus ranula – Scotian Snailfish
Liparis inquilinus – Inquiline Snailfish


Lobotes surinamensis – Tripletail

Goosefishes – Moderately to greatly flattened with a broad head and body that tapers to the tail. The mouth is broad, toothy, and usually bordered by fleshy tabs. Gill openings are behind the pectoral fins. The first dorsal-fin spine may be isolated on the snout and act as a lure (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Lophiodes beroe – White Anglerfish
Lophiodes monodi – Clubbait Anglerfish
Lophiodes reticulatus – Reticulate Goosefish
Lophius americanus – Goosefish
Lophius gastrophysus – Blackfin Goosefish


Apsilus dentatus – Black Snapper
Etelis oculatus – Queen Snapper
Lutjanus analis – Mutton Snapper
Lutjanus apodus – Schoolmaster
Lutjanus buccanella – Blackfin Snapper
Lutjanus campechanus – Red Snapper
Lutjanus cyanopterus – Cubera Snapper
Lutjanus griseus – Gray Snapper
Lutjanus jocu – Dog Snapper
Lutjanus mahogoni – Mahogany Snapper
Lutjanus purpureus – Caribbean Red Snapper
Lutjanus synagris – Lane Snapper
Lutjanus vivanus – Silk Snapper
Ocyurus chrysurus – Yellowtail Snapper
Pristipomoides aquilonaris – Slender Wenchman
Pristipomoides freemani – Wenchman
Rhomboplites aurorubens – Vermilion Snapper


Luvarus imperialis – Louvar


Macroramphosus scolopax – Longspine Snipefish


Coryphaenoides armatus – Abyssal Grenadier
Coryphaenoides brevibarbis – Shortbeard Grenadier
Coryphaenoides carapinus – Carapine Grenadier
Coryphaenoides leptolepis -Ghostly Grenadier
Malacocephalus laevis – Softhead Grenadier
Malacocephalus occidentalis – Westrn Softhead Grenadier
Nezumia aequalis – Common Atlantic Grenadier
Nezumia bairdii – Marlin Spike
Nezumia sclerorhynchus – Bluntsnout Grenadier
Ventrifossa macropogon – Longbeard Grenadier

Tilefishes – Oblong to elongate with a single, low dorsal fin. The ehad profile is gently to steeply sloping. The mouth is moderately large an dfleshy. A prominent to reduced predorsal ridge is present in most. The opercle has a single blunt or notched spine (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Caulolatilus chrysops – Goldface Tilefish
Caulolatilus cyanops – Blackline Tilefish
Caulolatilus microps – Blueline Tilefish
Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps – Tilefish
Malacanthus plumieri – Sand Tilefish

Tarpons – Elongate and moderately compressed with a single dorsal fin and a deeply forked caudal fin. The mouth is large and upturned, with the upper jaw extending past the eyes. Anal fin is long-based. Scales are large (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Megalops atlanticus – Tarpon


Merluccius albidus – Offshore Hake
Merluccius bilinearis – Silver Hake


Microdesmus longipinnis – Pink Wormfish
Ptereleotris calliura – Blue Dartfish


Manta birostris – Giant Manta
Mobula hypostoma – Devil Ray


Masturus lanceolatus – Sharptail Mola
Mola mola – Ocean Sunfish


Aluterus heudelotii – Dotterel Filefish
Aluterus monoceros – Unicorn Filefish
Aluterus schoepfii – Orange Filefish
Aluterus scriptus – Scrawled Filefish
Cantherhines pullus – Orangespotted Filefish
Monacanthus ciliatus – Fringed Filefish
Monacanthus tuckeri – Slender Filefish
Stephanolepis hispidus – Planehead Filefish
Stephanolepis setifer – Pygmy Filefish


Antimora rostrata – Blue Antimora
Gadella imberbis – Beardless Codling
Laemonema barbatulum – Shortbeard Codling
Laemonema melanurum – (No Common Name) Codling
Physiculus karrerae – (No Common Name) Codling


Moringua edwardsi – Spaghetti Eel
Neoconger mucronatus – Ridged Eel


Morone americana – White Perch
Morone saxatilis – Striped Bass

Mullets – Medium to large in size. The head is typically broad and flattened. The eyes are usually partly covered by adipose lids. The snout is short and the mouth is small or moderate in size. First dorsal fin has four spines. Pectoral fins are high on the body (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Dajaus monticola – Mountain Mullet
Mugil cephalus – Striped Mullet
Mugil curema – White Mullet

Goatfishes – Moderately elongate with a convex dorsal profile and nearly straight ventral profile. The dorsal fins are separate, the caudal fin is forked. Two well-developed barbels extend from chin. The upper jaw is slightly protrusible (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Mulloidichthys martinicus – Yellow Goatfish
Mullus auratus – Red Goatfish
Pseudupeneus maculatus – Spotted Goatfish
Upeneus parvus – Dwarf Goatfish


Anarchias similis – Pygmy Moray
Gymnothorax conspersus – Saddled Moray
Gymnothorax hubbsi – Lichen Moray
Gymnothorax kolpos – Blacktail Moray
Gymnothorax miliaris – Goldentail Moray
Gymnothorax moringa – Spotted Moray
Gymnothorax nigromarginatus – Blackedge Moray
Gymnothorax ocellatus – Ocellated Moray
Gymnothorax polygonius – Polygon Moray
Gymnothorax saxicola – Honeycomb Moray
Gymnothorax vicinus – Purplemouth Moray
Monopenchelys acuta – Redface Moray
Muraena retifera – Reticulate Moray
Muraena robusta – Stout Moray
Uropterygius macularius – Marbled Moray


Family Myctophidae – Diagnostics and Photophore Placement

Benthosema – B. glaciale, B. suborbitale
Bolinichthys – B. distofax, B. supralateralis
Centrobranchus nigroocellatus – Roundnose Lanternfish
Ceratoscopelus – C. maderensis, C. warmingii
Diaphus – D. brachycephalus, D. dumerilii, D. garmani, D. lucidus, D. minax, D. mollis, D. perspicillatus, D. splendidus, D. taaningi
Diogenichthys atlanticus – Longfin Lanternfish
Electrona risso – Electric Lanternfish
Gonichthys cocco – Linestop Lanternfish
Hygophum – H. benoiti, H. hygomii, H. reinhardti
Lampadena chavesi – Chaves’ Lanternfish
Lampanyctus – L. alatus, L. ater, L. cf. cuprarium, L. lineatus
Lepidophanes – L. gaussi, L. guentheri
Lobianchia – L. dofleini, L. gemellarii
Myctophum – M. affine, M. asperum (= Dasyscopelus asper) , M. obtusirostre (= Dasyscopelus obtusirostris), M. punctatum, M. selenops, M. nitidulum
Notolychnus valdiviae – Topside Lanternfish
Notoscopelus resplendens – Patchwork Lampfish
Taaningichthys minimus – Waistcoat Lanternfish


Aetobatus narinari – Spotted Eagle Ray
Myliobatis freminvillei – Bullnose Ray
Myliobatis goodei – Southern Eagle Ray


Myxine glutinosa – Atlantic Hagfish


Narcine bancroftii – Lesser Electric Ray


Carcharias taurus – Sand Tiger

Batfishes – Flattened with head and body forming a circular to triangular disk. The rostrum may be short or long. A cavity under the snout contains a lure. The mouth is small. Gill openings are behind the limb-like pectoral fins. The body is covered in tubercles and/or bucklers (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Dibranchus atlanticus – Atlantic Batfish
Halieutichthys aculeatus – Pancake Batfish
Ogcocephalus corniger – Longnose Batfish
Ogcocephalus cubifrons – Polka-dot Batfish
Ogcocephalus parvus – Roughback Batfish
Ogcocephalus rostellum – Palefin Batfish


Ahlia egmontis – Key Worm Eel
Aprognathodon platyventris – Stripe Eel
Apterichtus ansp – Academy Eel
Apterichtus kendalli – Finless Eel
Bascanichthys bascanium – Sooty Eel
Bascanichthys scuticaris – Whip Eel
Callechelys guineensis – Shorttail Snake Eel
Callechelys muraena – Blotched Snake Eel
Echiophis intertinctus – Spotted Spoon-Nose Eel
Gordiichthys ergodes – Irksome Eel
Gordiichthys irretitus – Horsehair Eel
Gordiichthys leibyi – String Eel
Letharchus aliculatus – Striped Sailfin Eel
Letharchus velifer – Sailfin Eel
Myrichthys breviceps – Sharptail Eel
Myrichthys ocellatus – Goldspotted Eel
Myrophis platyrhynchus – Broadnose Worm Eel
Myrophis punctatus – Speckled Worm Eel
Ophichthus cruentifer – Margined Snake Eel
Ophichthus gomesii – Shrimp Eel
Ophichthus melanoporus – Blackpored Eel
Ophichthus menezesi – Blotchside Snake Eel
Ophichthus ophis – Spotted Snake Eel
Ophichthus puncticeps – Palespotted Eel
Pseudomyrophis fugesae – Diminutive Worm Eel
Pseudomyrophis nimius – Elongate Worm Eel
Quassiremus sp. (cf. ascensionis)


Benthocometes robustus – (No Common Name) Cusk-eel
Brotula barbata – Atlantic Bearded Brotula
Dicrolene introniger – Digitate Cusk-eel
Lepophidium brevibarbe – Blackedge Cusk-eel
Lepophidium jeannae – Mottled Cusk-eel
Lepophidium profundorum – Fawn Cusk-eel
Lepophidium staurophor – Barred Cusk-eel
Monomitopus agassizii – (No Common Name) Cusk-eel
Monomitopus magnus – (No Common Name) Cusk-eel
Neobythites marginatus – Stripefin Brotula
Ophidion antipholus – Longnose Cusk-eel
Ophidion grayi – Blotched Cusk-eel
Ophidion holbrooki – Bank Cusk-eel
Ophidion josephi – Crested Cusk-eel
Ophidion marginatum – Striped Cusk-eel
Ophidion nocomis – Letter Opener
Ophidion selenops – Mooneye Cusk-eel
Otophidium omostigma – Polka-dot Cusk-eel


Acanthostracion polygonius – Honeycomb Cowfish
Acanthostracion quadricornis – Scrawled Cowfish
Lactophrys trigonus – Trunkfish
Lactophrys triqueter – Smooth Trunkfish


Arctozenus risso – White Barracudina
Lestidiops affinis – (No Common Name) Barracudina
Lestidium atlanticum Atlantic Barracudina
Lestrolepis intermedia – (No Common Name) Barracudina
Magnisudis atlantica – Duckbill Barracudina
Paralepis coregonoides – Sharpchin Barracudina
Paralepis elongata – (No Common Name) Barracudina

Sand Flounders – Deep-bodied and laterally compressed. The mouth is large and protrusible. Eyes are large to relatively small and usually left-facing. Anterior dorsal-fin rays may be long and mostly free of membrane. Pelvic fins are symmetrical in shape and short-based (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Ancylopsetta dilecta – Three-eye Flounder
Ancylopsetta quadrocellata – Ocellated Flounder
Citharichthys arctifrons – Gulf Stream Flounder
Citharichthys cornutus – Horned Whiff
Citharichthys gymnorhinus – Anglefin Whiff
Citharichthys macrops – Spotted Whiff
Citharichthys spilopterus – Bay Whiff
Cyclopsetta fimbriata – Spotfin Flounder
Etropus crossotus – Fringed Flounder
Etropus cyclosquamus – Shelf Flounder
Etropus microstomus – Smallmouth Flounder
Etropus rimosus – Gray Flounder
Gastropsetta frontalis – Shrimp Flounder
Paralichthys albigutta – Gulf Flounder
Paralichthys dentatus – Summer Flounder
Paralichthys lethostigma – Southern Flounder
Paralichthys oblongus – Fourspot Flounder
Paralichthys squamilentus – Broad Flounder
Syacium micrurum – Channel Flounder
Syacium papillosum – Dusky Flounder


Bembrops gobioides – Goby Flathead

Armored Searobins – Moderately elongate. The head is large and armored with plates, ridges, and spines. Rows of spiny scutes cover the body. Flattened projections extend from snout and sides of head. Lip and chin barbels are usually present. First two pectoral-fin rays are free and fleshy (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Peristedion miniatum – Armored Searobin
Peristedion thompsoni – Rimspine Searobin
Peristedion greyae – Alligator Searobin
Peristedion gracile – Slender Searobin
Peristedion truncatum – Black Armored Searobin
Peristedion ecuadorense – Pyramidnose Armored Searobin


Petromyzon marinus – Sea Lamprey

Phycid Hakes – Relatively elongate, soft-bodied, and rounded in cross-section anteriorly. The mouth is large. The snout is rounded to moderately long. Chin barbel is present. Two dorsal fins are usually present. Rarely, the first dorsal fin is a single ray followed by a series of short rays and a long-based third fin. Anal fin is long-based. Pelvic fins are typically long and slender. Caudal fin is well developed (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Enchelyopus cimbrius – Fourbeard Rockling
Urophycis chuss – Red Hake
Urophycis earllii – Carolina Hake
Urophycis floridana – Southern Hake
Urophycis regia – Spotted Hake
Urophycis tenuis – White Hake

Righteye Flounders – Deep bodied and laterally compressed. The mouth is small. Eyes are almost always face right. Pelvic fins are symmetrical in shape and short-based. Lateral line is well developed on both sides of body (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Glyptocephalus cynoglossus – Witch Flounder
Pseudopleuronectes americanus – Winter Flounder

Livebearers – Small with elongate to moderately-deep bodies. The head is flattened. The single dorsal fin is located posteriorly and may be fan-like. Caudal peduncle is elongate, caudal fin is broad. Males have a modified anal fin used for internal fetrilization of females Pregnant females often with dark spot (gravid spot) anterior and dorsal to anus (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Gambusia holbrooki – Eastern Mosquitofish
Poecilia latipinna – Sailfin Molly


Polymixia lowei – Beardfish
Polymixia nobilis – Stout Beardfish


Polydactylus octonemus – Atlantic Threadfin
Polydactylus virginicus – Barbu


Polyprion americanus – Wreckfish


Centropyge argi – Cherubfish
Holacanthus bermudensis – Blue Angelfish
Holacanthus ciliaris – Queen Angelfish
Holacanthus tricolor – Rock Beauty
Pomacanthus arcuatus – Gray Angelfish
Pomacanthus paru – French Angelfish

Damselfishes – Small, oval to oblong, and laterally compressed. The mouth is small and oblique. The lateral line is incomplete or interrupted. The dorsal fin is continuous, with the spiny portion having a longer base than the soft portion. Caudal fin is shallowly to deeply forked (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Abudefduf saxatilis – Sergent Major
Abudefduf taurus – Night Sergeant
Chromis enchrysura – Yellowtail Reeffish
Chromis insolata – Sunshinefish
Chromis scotti – Purple Reeffish
Stegastes adustus – Dusky Damselfish
Stegastes leucostictus – Beaugregory
Stegastes partitus – Bicolor Damselfish
Stegastes planifrons -Threespot Damselfish
Stegastes variabilis – Cocoa Damselfish

Bluefish – Moderately elongated and compressed with separate dorsal fins and a forked caudal fin. The jaws have prominent sharp teeth; the lower jaw protrudes slightly. Opercles with a single broad, flat spine (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Pomatomus saltatrix – Bluefish


Cookeolus japonicus – Bulleye
Heteropriacanthus cruentatus – Glasseye Snapper
Priacanthus arenatus – Bigeye
Pristigenys alta – Short Bigeye


Pristis pectinata – Smalltooth Sawfish


Pseudotriakis microdon – False Cat Shark

Cobia – Elongate and round in cross-section with a broad mouth and a flattened head. 6-9 short spines precede the second dorsal fin. Pectoral fins long and pointed; caudal fin is forked (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Amblyraja radiata – Thorny Skate
Breviraja claramaculata – Lightspotted Shortskate
Dipturus teevani – Prickly Brown Ray
Leucoraja erinacea – Little Skate
Leucoraja garmani – Rosette Skate
Leucoraja ocellata – Winter Skate
Raja eglanteria – Clearnose Skate


Regalecus glesne – Oarfish


Rhincodon typus – Whale Shark


Rhinobatos lentiginosus – Atlantic Guitarfish


Rhinoptera bonasus – Cownose Ray


Cryptotomus roseus – Bluelip Parrotfish
Nicholsina usta – Emerald Parrotfish
Scarus iseri – Striped Parrotfish
Sparisoma chrysopterum – Redtail Parrotfish
Sparisoma radians – Bucktooth Parrotfish
Sparisoma rubripinne – Yellowtail Parrotfish

Drums – Small to large in size with a gently to steeply sloping dorsal head profile. The body may be short and deep to moderately elongate. All have pores on the snout and chin, a bony flap above the gill opening, and lateral-line scales that extend onto the caudal fin. The first dorsal fin is short-based an usually continuous with a long-based second dorsal fin (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Bairdiella chrysoura – Silver Perch
Cynoscion nebulosus – Spotted Seatrout
Cynoscion nothus – Silver Seatrout
Cynoscion regalis – Weakfish
Equetus lanceolatus – Jackknife-fish
Larimus fasciatus – Banded Drum
Leiostomus xanthurus – Spot
Menticirrhus americanus – Southern Kingfish
Menticirrhus littoralis – Gulf Kingfish
Menticirrhus saxatilis – Northern Kingfish
Micropogonias undulatus – Atlantic Croaker
Pareques acuminatus – High-hat
Pareques iwamotoi – Blackbar Drum
Pareques umbrosus – Cubbyu
Pogonias cromis – Black Drum
Sciaenops ocellatus – Red Drum
Stellifer lanceolatus – Star Drum
Umbrina coroides – Sand Drum

Sauries – Elongate and slender with long, pointed jaws. Dorsal and anal fins are near the tail and are followed by 5-6 finlets. Caudal fin is deeply forked and symmetrical. The body is covered in small scales (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Scomberesox saurus – Atlantic Saury

Mackerels and Tunas – Medium to large and elongate to very robust. The body is somewhat compressed to rounded in cross-section. Dorsal fins and short-based and well-separated and insert into grooves. A series of finlets follow second dorsal and anal fins. Two oblique keels at caudal-fin are present in all. Many also have a lateral keel on the caudal peduncle (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Acanthocybium solandri – Wahoo
Auxis rochei – Bullet Mackerel
Auxis thazard – Frigate Mackerel
Euthynnus alletteratus – Black Skipjack
Katsuwonus pelamis – Skipjack Tuna
Sarda sarda – Atlantic Bonito
Scomber colias – Atlantic Chub Mackerel
Scomber scombrus – Atlantic Mackerel
Scomberomorus cavalla – King Mackerel
Scomberomorus maculatus – Spanish Mackerel
Scomberomorus regalis – Cero
Thunnus alalunga – Albacore
Thunnus albacares – Yellowfin Tuna
Thunnus atlanticus – Blackfin Tuna
Thunnus obesus – Bigeye Tuna
Thunnus thynnus – Bluefin Tuna

Turbots – Deep bodied, rhomboid in shape, and extremely compressed. The mouth is large. The eyes are comparatively large and left-facing. Anterior dorsal-fin rays are long and mostly free of membrane. Pelvic-fin base is long, extending from opercular margin to very close to anal-fin origin. Most fin rays are branched (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Scophthalmus aquosus – Windowpane


Galeus arae – Marbled Catshark
Scyliorhinus retifer – Chain Dogfish

Serranidae – updated August 09, 2020
Alphestes afer - Mutton Hamlet
Anthias nicholsi - Yellowfin Bass
Anthias tenuis - (= Choranthias tenuis) - Threadnose Bass
Baldwinella aureorubens - Streamer Bass
Baldwinella vivanus - Red Barbier
Bathyanthias cubensis - Yellowtail Bass
Centropristis fuscula - Twospot Sea Bass
Centropristis ocyurus - Bank Sea Bass
Centropristis philadelphica - Rock Sea Bass
Centropristis striata - Black Sea Bass
Cephalopholis cruentata - Graysby
Cephalopholis fulva - Coney Hind
Dermatolepis inermis - Marbled Grouper
Diplectrum bivittatum - Dwarf Sand Perch
Diplectrum formosum - Sand Perch
Epinephelus adscensionis - Rock Hind
Epinephelus drummondhayi - Speckled Hind
Epinephelus guttatus - Red Hind
Epinephelus itajara - Goliath Grouper
Epinephelus morio - Red Grouper
Epinephelus striatus  - Nassau Grouper
Gonioplectrus hispanus - Spanish Flag
Hemanthias leptus - Longtail Bass
Hyporthodus flavolimbatus - Yellowedge Grouper
Hyporthodus mystacinus - Misty Grouper
Hyporthodus nigritus - Warsaw Grouper
Hyporthodus niveatus - Snowy Grouper
Liopropoma aberrans - Eyestripe Bass
Liopropoma eukrines - Wrasse Basslet
Liopropoma mowbrayi - Cave Basslet
Mycteroperca bonaci - Black Grouper
Mycteroperca interstitialis - Yellowmouth Grouper
Mycteroperca microlepis - Gag Grouper
Mycteroperca phenax - Scamp Grouper
Mycteroperca venenosa - Yellowfin Grouper
Paranthias furcifer - Atlantic Creolefish
Parasphyraenops incisus - Splitfin Bass
Plectranthias garrupellus - Apricot Bass
Pronotogrammus martinicensis - Roughtongue Bass
Rypticus maculatus - Whitespotted Soapfish
Rypticus saponaceus - Greater Soapfish
Schultzea beta - School Bass
Serraniculus pumilio - Pygmy Sea Bass
Serranus annularis - Orangeback Bass
Serranus atrobranchus - Blackear Bass
Serranus baldwini - Lantern Bass
Serranus chionaraia - Snow Bass
Serranus notospilus - Saddle Bass
Serranus phoebe - Tattler
Serranus subligarius - Belted Sandfish
Serranus tabacarius - Tobaccofish

Setarches guentheri – Deepwater Scorpionfish


Centroscymnus coelolepis – Portuguese Shark
Somniosus microcephalus – Greenland Shark

Porgies – Small to medium in size and oblong to oval in profile. The body is usually deep and moderately to deeply compressed. The dorsal head profile is usually steep. The mouth is small with a slightly protrusible upper jaw. Possess conical- or incisor-like front teeth. Teeth in sides of jaws are molar-like. Dorsal fin is continuous and weakly to slightly notched (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Archosargus probatocephalus – Sheepshead
Archosargus rhomboidalis Sea Bream
Calamus bajonado – Jolthead Porgy
Calamus calamus – Saucereye Porgy
Calamus leucosteus – Whitebone Porgy
Calamus nodosus – Knobbed Porgy
Calamus proridens – Littlehead Porgy
Diplodus argenteus – Silver Porgy
Diplodus holbrookii – Spottail Pinfish
Lagodon rhomboides – Pinfish
Pagrus pagrus – Red Porgy
Stenotomus caprinus – Longspine Porgy
Stenotomus chrysops – Scup

Barracudas – Elongate and small to moderately large. The head is long, the snout is pointed, and the lower jaw protrudes. The large jaws and roof of the mouth have numerous sharp conical or flattened teeth. Dorsal fins are short-based and widely separated (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Sphyraena barracuda – Great Barracuda
Sphyraena borealis – Sennet
Sphyraena guachancho – Guaguanche


Sphyrna gilberti – Carolina Hammerhead
Sphyrna lewini – Scalloped Hammerhead
Sphyrna mokarran – Great Hammerhead
Sphyrna tiburo – Bonnethead
Sphyrna zygaena – Smooth Hammerhead


Squalus acanthias – Spiny Dogfish
Cirrhigaleus asper – Roughskin Dogfish
Squalus cubensis – Cuban Dogfish
Squalus mitsukurii – Shortspine Dogfish


Squatina dumeril – Atlantic Angel Shark

Butterfishes – Deep-bodied and laterally compressed. Snout is short, mouth is small. Eyes are covered by adipose eyelids. Dorsal and anal fins are single, long-based, scaled, and similar in shape. Anterior fin lobes may be elongate. Pelvic fins are absent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Peprilus burti – Gulf Butterfish
Peprilus paru – Harvestfish
Peprilus triacanthus – Butterfish


Dysomma anguillare – Shortbell Eel
Synaphobranchus affinis – Grey Cutthroat Eel
Synaphobranchus kaupi – Northern Cuthroat Eel


Anarchopterus criniger – Fringed Pipefish
Bryx dunckeri – Pugnose Pipefish
Cosmocampus albirostris – Whitenose Pipefish
Cosmocampus elucens – Shortfin Pipefish
Cosmocampus hildebrandi – Dwarf Pipefish
Cosmocampus cf. profundus – undescribed species near “Deepwater” Pipefish
Hippocampus erectus – Lined Seahorse
Hippocampus reidi – Longsnout Seahorse
Microphis lineatus – Opossum Pipefish
Syngnathus floridae – Dusky Pipefish
Syngnathus fuscus – Northern Pipefish
Syngnathus louisianae – Chain Pipefish
Syngnathus pelagicus – Sargassum Pipefish
Syngnathus springeri – Bull Pipefish

Lizardfishes – Elongate and cylindrical in shape. The mouth is wide and toothy. The single dorsal fin is located over the midbody line. An adipose fin is present (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Saurida brasiliensis – Largescale Lizardfish
Saurida normani – Shortjaw Lizardfish
Synodus foetens – Inshore Lizardfish
Synodus macrostigmus – Largespot Lizardfish
Synodus poeyi – Offshore Lizardfish
Synodus synodus – Red Lizardfish
Trachinocephalus myops – Snakefish

Squaretails – Medium-sized, elongate, and rounded in cross-section. The snout is blunt. The lower jaw fits completely within the upper jaw when closed. First dorsal fin is long-based and inserts into a groove. Second dorsal and anal fins are similar in shape. Modified scales form two low keels on caudal-fin base. Body scales are keeled and geometrically arranged (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Tetragonurus atlanticus – Bigeye Squaretail


Canthigaster jamestyleri – Goldface Toby
Canthigaster rostrata – Sharpnose Puffer
Lagocephalus laevigatus – Smooth Puffer
Lagocephalus lagocephalus – Oceanic Puffer
Sphoeroides dorsalis – Marbled Puffer
Sphoeroides maculatus – Northern Puffer
Sphoeroides nephelus – Southern Puffer
Sphoeroides pachygaster – Blunthead Puffer
Sphoeroides spengleri – Bandtail Puffer
Sphoeroides testudineus – Checkered Puffer


Torpedo nobiliana – Atlantic Torpedo


Gephyroberyx darwinii – Big Roughy
Hoplostethus mediterraneus – Silvery Roughy
Hoplostethus occidentalis – Western Roughy


Desmodema polystictum – Polka-dot Ribbonfish
Zu cristatus – Scalloped Ribbonfish


Parahollardia lineata – Jambeau


Mustelus canis – Smooth Dogfish

Cutlassfishes – Elongate and strongly compressed. The lower jaw protrudes. Fang-like teeth are usually present. Dorsal fin is extremely long-based. Pelvic fins are very small or absent. Caudal fin is small or absent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Evoxymetopon taeniatus – Channel Scabbardfish
Lepidopus altifrons – Crested Scabbardfish
Trichiurus lepturus – Atlantic Cutlassfish

Searobins – Moderately elongate with a large, bony head that is armored with plates, ridges, and spines. Venom glands and chin barbels are absent. Pectoral fins may be small or very broad. Fist three pectoral-fin rays are free and fleshy. (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Bellator brachychir – Shortfin Searobin
Bellator egretta – Streamer Searobin
Bellator militaris – Horned Searobin
Prionotus alatus – Spiny Searobin
Prionotus carolinus – Northern Searobin
Prionotus evolans – Striped Searobin
Prionotus ophryas – Bandtail Searobin
Prionotus roseus – Bluespotted Searobin
Prionotus rubio – Blackwing Searobin
Prionotus scitulus – Leopard Searobin
Prionotus stearnsi – Shortwing Searobin
Prionotus tribulus – Bighead Searobin

Stargazers – Large head with a robust body that is naked or covered in small, smooth scales. Mouth is large and oblique to nearly vertical. Lips are fringed. Eyes are either on or near top of the head. First dorsal fin present or absent. Pectoral fins fan-like. A blunt or sharp venomous spine is present over the pectoral fins (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Astroscopus guttatus – Northern Stargazer
Astroscopus y-graecum – Southern Stargazer
Kathetostoma albigutta – Lancer Stargazer


Urobatis jamaicensis – Yellow Stingray

Swordfish – Large, robust anteriorly, and rounded in cross-section. The upper jaw forms a flattened, sword-like bill. First dorsal fin is short-based and widely separated from second dorsal fin. The caudal peduncle is deeply notched at the caudal-fin base and has strong lateral keels. Pelvic fins absent (Kells and Carpenter 2011).

Xiphias gladius – Swordfish


Cyttopsis rosea – Red Dory
Zenopsis conchifera – Buckler Dory


Lycenchelys verrillii – Wolf Eelpout
Melanostigma atlanticum – Atlantic Soft Pout

The fishes of NC banner