|Longnose seabat, Malthopsis lutea|
D. S. Jordan, 1895
Ogcocephalidae is a family of bottom-dwelling, specially adapted fish. They are sometimes referred to as seabats, batfishes or anglerfishes. They are found in deep, lightless waters of the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans.
They are dorso-ventrally compressed fishes similar in appearance to rays, with a large circular, triangular, or box-shaped (in Coelophrys) head and a small tail. The largest members of the family are about 50 centimetres (20 in) in length. The illicium (a modified dorsal fin ray on the front of the head, that supports the esca, a bulbous lure) can be retracted into an illicial cavity above the mouth. The esca is not luminous as in most other groups of anglerfishes, but secretes a fluid that is hypothesized to act as a chemical lure, attracting prey. Analysis of their stomach contents indicates that batfishes feed on fish, crustaceans, and polychaete worms.
They are bottom-dwelling fishes, mostly found on the continental slope at depths between 200 metres (660 ft) and 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). However, some New World genera live in much shallower coastal waters and river estuaries.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Ogcocephalidae" in FishBase. January 2009 version.
- Theodore W. Pietsch (2005). "Ogcocephalidae". Tree of Life web project. Retrieved 4 April 2006.
- Bertelsen, F. & Pietsch, T.W. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
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