name = Spadefishes and batfishes

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Teira Batfish, "Platax teira"
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Perciformes
familia = Ephippidae
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = "Chaetodipterus"
"Zabidius" See text for species

Ephippidae is the fish family containing the spadefishes. There are about eight genera with a total of 20 species, mostly marine. The most well-known species are probably those in the reef-dwelling genus "Platax", the batfishes, which are kept as aquarium fish. They are spade-shaped, laterally compressed, and very symmetrical triangular dorsal and anal fins. They are shiny silver with areas of yellow and vertical brown or black banding. The eyes are often located in one of the vertical bands as a method of camouflage. Scuba divers sometimes mistake them for angelfish, which are similar in shape but not closely related. Other genera in the family are characterized by long, trailing, pointed dorsal and anal fins. Most species feed primarily on algae and small invertebrates. [FishBase family|family=Ephippidae|year=2005|month=November]

Some spadefishes are popular sport fishing catches. The Atlantic spadefish ("Chaetodipterus faber"), for example, is an attractive black and white zebra-striped fish common just offshore in the southeastern United States and Caribbean. They are favorites because they put up a fight as they are reeled in. Spadefish are generally considered to be an overfished group. Most of the individuals caught are small and young and are nowhere near the maximum size recorded for their species.

A recent study in "Current Biology" (vol 16, p. 2434) has suggested that the batfish "Platus pinnatus" may play the role of a critical functional group in the Great Barrier Reef by eating seaweed that other herbivorous fish such as parrotfish and surgeonfish will not touch. Overgrowth of seaweed among corals occurs as a result of overfishing of large fish species and inhibits the ability of coral to support life. [ [http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn10819 Batfish may come to the Great Barrier Reef's rescue] ]


* Genus "Chaetodipterus"
** Atlantic spadefish, "Chaetodipterus faber" (Broussonet, 1782).
** West African spadefish, "Chaetodipterus lippei" Steindachner, 1895.
** Pacific spadefish, "Chaetodipterus zonatus" (Girard, 1858).
* Genus "Ephippus"
** East Atlantic African spadefish, "Ephippus goreensis" Cuvier, 1831.
** Orbfish, "Ephippus orbis" (Bloch, 1787).
* Genus "Parapsettus"
** Panama spadefish, "Parapsettus panamensis" (Steindachner, 1875).
* Genus "Platax"
** Humpback batfish, "Platax batavianus" Cuvier, 1831.
** Golden spadefish, "Platax boersii" Bleeker, 1852.
** Orbicular batfish, "Platax orbicularis" (Forsskål, 1775).
** Dusky batfish, "Platax pinnatus" (Linnaeus, 1758).
** Tiera batfish, "Platax teira" (Forsskål, 1775).
* Genus "Proteracanthus"
** "Proteracanthus sarissophorus" (Cantor, 1849).
* Genus "Rhinoprenes"
** Threadfin scat, "Rhinoprenes pentanemus" Munro, 1964.
* Genus "Tripterodon"
** African spadefish, "Tripterodon orbis" (Bloch, 1787).
* Genus "Zabidius"
** Ninespine batfish, "Zabidius novemaculeatus" (McCulloch, 1916).


External links

*ITIS|ID=553178|taxon=Ephippidae|year=2008|date=2 July

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