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Northern tonguefish, Symphurus pusillus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Pleuronectiformes
Suborder: Soleoidei
Family: Cynoglossidae
Sub-families & Genera[1]

Sub-family Cynoglossinae
Sub-family Symphurinae

Tonguefishes are a family, Cynoglossidae, of flatfishes. They are distinguished by the presence of a long hook on the snout overhanging the mouth, and the absence of pectoral fins. Their eyes are both on the left side of their body, which also lacks a pelvic fin.[2]

They are found in tropical and subtropical oceans, mainly in shallow waters and estuaries, though a few species found in deep sea floors, and a few in rivers.

Some species have been observed congregating around ponds of sulphur that pool up from beneath the seafloor. Scientists are unsure of the mechanism that allows the fish to survive and even thrive in such a hostile environment.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). "Cynoglossidae" in FishBase. October 2012 version.
  2. ^ Chapleau, Francois & Amaoka, Kunio (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 225. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  3. ^ "Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons". BBC News. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2010.