Small fishes, most with a long slender body, a rather blunt, rounded head and a long-based dorsal fin. The pelvic fins have one spine and 2-4 rays, and may be elongate. The lateral line is in two parts, with the long anterior part positioned immediately below the dorsal‑fin base.
Most species hide in crevices, caves and amongst coral on reefs, and except for plankton feeders of the genera Assessor and Trachinops, rarely venture from shelter during the day. The nocturnal species feed at at night mostly on small invertebrates, but also on fishes.
Parents care for the eggs, either brooding them in their mouths, or guarding the egg mass that is attached to rocks in small holes, caves or crevices.
The family comprises two subfamilies, the Acanthoclininae and the Plesiopinae, with about 12 genera and 49 species. Ten genera and 23 species are recognised from Australian waters.
Plesiopids are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, mostly in tropical waters.
|Carnivores - feed mostly on small invertebrates, but also prey on small fishes.|
The sexes are separate, and fertilisation is external. Plesiopids either attach the egg mass to the substrate, or brooded the eggs in their mouths. Egg masses laid on rocky reefs are guarded until the larvae hatch.
The eggs have unusual surface structures and long filaments that keep them together as an egg mass. The larvae are planktonic.
|Although of no interest to fisheries, some species are popular aquarium fishes.|
|IUCN Red List Status: Not evaluated.|
|Dianne J. Bray|
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