A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

A

adelphophagy
a method of embryonic nutrition where an embryo cannibalises other siblings within the uterus.
adipose eyelid
a transparent outer covering of the eye, either complete or partial, of some bony fish.
adipose fin
a small, fleshy fin without rays or spines between the dorsal and caudal fins of some fishes.
aerofoil
a term used to describe the cross-sectional shape designed to create an aerodynamic force.
angular
forming a distinct angle.
anterior
referring to the front portion.
asymmetrical
uneven, of different shape or size.
axil
the angular area between the pectoral or pelvic fins and the body.

B

bar
elongate vertical marking.
barbel
an elongate fleshy tentacle-like sensory projection, usually about the mouth.
base
the part of a projection (e.g. fin) connected to the body.
benthic
living on the bottom of the ocean.
benthopelagic
inhabiting waters above but near the bottom, or spending part of the time on the bottom and part of the time further up in the pelagic zone.
blotch
an enlarged area or patch that is different in colour from adjacent areas.
brackish
 waters with a salinity between that of freshwater and saltwater.

C

canine
a slender conical tooth, often enlarged and elongate.
caudal peduncle
the posterior part of body between the rear parts of the dorsal and anal fins, and the caudal fin.
cephalic lobe
a broad lobe on forehead of some rays.
cirri
small, soft, short tendril-like appendages.
cephalopod
a group of animals including cuttlefishes, nautili, squids and octopi.
cetaceans
a group of aquatic mammals including whales and dolphins.
chondrichthyans
a group of fishes comprising sharks, rays and chimaeras.
circumglobal
distributed around the world within a certain latitude range.
claspers
modified portions of pelvic fins in male chondrichthyans used for transferring sperm to female during mating.
cleithral spine
the spine at the dorsal end of the cleithrum (major bone providing basal support for the pectoral girdle and fin), usually prominent when present and directed backwards.
cloaca
a common opening for digestive, urinary and reproductive tracts.
common name
the informal name for an animal, which often varies place to place.
compressed
flattened laterally; a body shape much deeper than wide.
concave
curved inwards (opposite of convex).
continental shelf
the shelf-like part of the seabed adjacent to coast to a depth of about 200 m.
continental slope
the typically steep, slope-like part of the seabed bordering the continental shelf to a depth of about 2,000 m.
convex
arched, curved outwards (opposite of concave).
crescentic
shaped like the new moon.
corselet
a band of specialised scales encircling the pectoral region of the body.
crustaceans
a group of animals including crabs, shrimps, prawns, lobsters and crayfish.
ctenoid scale
a scale with a spiny outer margin.
cusp
a projection on a tooth.
cusplet
a small cusp.
cycloid scale
a scale with a smooth outer margin, without spines.

D

demersal
living on or near the bottom of the ocean.
denticle
a small, tooth-like structure; placoid scale of a cartilaginous fish.
depressed
flattened from top to bottom; body shape much wider than deep.
depth
the height of the body or head from top to bottom; also the distance from the sea surface to the bottom.
dermal
relating to the skin.
dermal flaps
outgrowths of skin.
disc
 the combined head, trunk and enlarged pectoral fins of those cartilaginous fish with depressed bodies, e.g. stingrays.
dorsal
the back or upper surface.
dusky
slightly dark or greyish in colour.

E

elasmobranch
a group of fishes comprising sharks and rays.
electric organ
organ capable of delivering a mild electric shock.
elongate
 extended in length in relation to another object, or drawn out.
emarginate
margin slightly concave; pertains to a caudal-fin shape.
endemic
native and restricted to a certain area.
epipelagic
the upper part of the oceanic zone from the surface to about 200 m.
estuarine
living mainly in partly enclosed bodies of sea water that are measurably diluted with fresh water (estuaries).
euphausids
small, pelagic, shrimp-like crustaceans.
eye - fork length (EFL)
measurement of a length from the eye to the caudal fork (usually for billfish).Istiophoridae feature measurements

F

falcate
curved like a sickle.
family
a group term for classifying organisms, containing one or more related genera
filter feeding
filtering food particles from the water by means of the gill rakers.
finlets
small separate dorsal and anal fins.

G

genus
a group term for classifying organisms, containing one or more related species.
gill
an organ used for breathing or extracting oxygen from the water.
gill arch
a bony angular skeleton that supports the gill filaments and gill rakers.
Gill rakers
gill opening
an opening (usually slit-like in cartilaginous fishes) on head that connects the gill chamber to the exterior.
gill rakers
bony projections along the front edge of the gill arch that help prevent food from escaping through the gill opening.Gill rakers
gillnet
a net used to tangle fishes.

H

habitat
the locality, with its own particular environment, in which an organism lives.
hammer-shaped
shaped with paired lateral expansions, like the head of a mallet.
head
specialised anterior part of an animal on which the mouth and major sensory
organs are located; part anterior to fifth gill slit.
head clasper
small appendage on the forehead of mature male chimaeroid fishes.
histotrophy
form of embryonic nutrition where the developing embryos receive a
lipid-rich histotroph, or uterine milk, usually delivered through extensions of the uterine
wall called trophonemata.
hyomandibular pores
line of enlarged pores extending posteriorly from the mouth
corners.

I

incised
deeply indented.
infraorbital pores
pores in infraorbital canal located along upper jaw below and slightly before eye.
initial phase
colour phase of wrasses and parrotfishes comprising non-juvenile females and immature males (cf. terminal phase).
interdorsal
space on dorsal surface between first and second dorsal fins.
interdorsal ridge
ridge of skin between dorsal fins.
internarial space
distance between the nostrils.
internasal flap
fleshy flap extending between nostrils, sometimes partly covering the
mouth.
interorbital space
area on top of head between eyes.

J

jaws
the part of the mouth supporting the teeth.
juvenile
young fish, similar in form to adults but not yet sexually mature.

K

keel
a fleshy ridge.

L

labial furrow
shallow groove around the lips.
lateral
referring to the side, or toward the side
lateral line
a vibration sensory canal along the side of the body with a series of pores that communicate to the outside of the body, often through specialised pored lateral-line scales
lateral-line canal
part of the sensory network of chimaeras; appearing as a distinct line.
lateral line pores
pores in lateral-line canal, usually beginning behind eye and ending near tail tip.
lateral ridges
fleshy expansions on sides of body.
lip
the fleshy outer portion of the jaws.
longitudinal
lengthwise (opposite of transverse).
longline
a line bearing numerous baited hooks, typically set horizontally in water column.
lower jaw - fork length
measurement of a length from the most anterior part of the lower jaw to the caudal fork (usually for billfish).Istiophoridae feature measurements
lunate
crescent shaped; caudal-fin shape that is deeply emarginate with narrow or filamentous lobes.

M

margin
edge or rim.
maxillary teeth
upper jaw teeth; the inner row is closest to the inside of mouth, the outer row is closest to the lips.
median
relating to the middle of an object.
mesopelagic
living in open ocean at depths between 200 and 1,000 m.
molar
a low, blunt, rounded tooth for crushing and grinding.
molariform teeth
broad, rounded teeth adapted for grinding.
mouth
the opening through which food enters the alimentary canal.
multiserial teeth
in multiple rows.

N

nape
the region of head above and behind the eyes.
nasal curtain
see internasal flap.
nasoral grooves
furrow connecting mouth to the nostrils.
nektonic
swimming organisms capable of moving against a current and thus not only
drifting.
nictitating eyelid
a transparent, moveable membrane or inner eyelid that protects
the eye.
nostril
the external opening of the nasal organs.

O

oblique
angled or slanting.
obtuse
broadly rounded or having a blunt end.
oceanic
living in the open ocean.
ocellus (plural ocelli)
a round eye-like spot or marking with a marginal ring.
ocular
relating to the eye.
opercle
the large posterior upper bone of the gill cover.
operculum
the gill cover, composed of the preopercle, opercle, interopercle and subopercle.
oral
relating to the mouth.
orbit
bony cavity in skull where eyeball is housed.
oviparous
producing eggs that hatch after being deposited from the body of a pregnant
female.
oophagy
the method of embryonic nutrition where the embryo feeds on unfertilised
eggs entering the uterus.

P

palatine
paired bones on each side of the roof of the mouth, behind and lateral to the vomer, often bearing teeth.
pelagic
free swimming in the seas, oceans or open water and not associated with the bottom.
plain
 uniformly coloured, without a contrasting colour pattern.
plankton
small animals or plants that drift in open water.
polygonal
having many sides (more than four).
population
a biological unit that represents the individuals of a species living in a
certain area.
pore
a small secretory or sensory opening.
posterior
referring to the rear portion.
preanal length
the horizontal distance from the snout tip to the mid-anus.
precaudal pit
a transverse or longitudinal notch on caudal peduncle just anterior to
origin of caudal fin in some sharks.
preopercle
the upper anterior bone of the gill cover.
preorbital
before the eye.
purse seine
a fishing net used to encircle surface-dwelling fish and land onto a boat.

Q

quadrangular
shaped with four distinct edges or margins.

R

ray
the supporting element of fins; ray is sometimes used as a collective term to designate both soft rays and spines, but in this resource, it is used to designate exclusively soft rays.
reticulated
divided into a network.
reticulations
markings in the general form of a net.
reticulum
the colour pattern in which lines form a network pattern around and between spots.
rhomboidal
diamond-shaped.
retrorse
facing backward.
rostral cartilage
a gristly structure supporting the snout of chondrichthyan fish.
rostral teeth
tooth-like projections on the sides of the snout of sawfishes and sawsharks.
rostrum
a projecting snout.
rostrum (adj. rostral)
a projecting snout.
rounded
margin evenly convex.

S

saddle
a blotch extending across the dorsal surface from one side to another.
salinity
the concentration of salt in water.
school
 a close aggregation of fish swimming in association with each other.
scientific name
the formal binomial name of an organism consisting of the genus
and species names; only one valid scientific name per species.
scute
a modified scale that can be enlarged, hardened, ridged, keeled or spiny.
seine
a fishing net that hangs vertically in the water column and encircles fish when its ends are drawn together.
serrate
with saw-like teeth along a margin.
snout
the part of the head in front of the eyes.
soft dorsal fin
the portion of the dorsal fin supported by soft rays.
soft ray
a fin support element that is composed of two halves (paired laterally), segmented, and usually flexible and branched; rarely, soft rays can be pointed and stiff and look like spines.
species
actually or potentially interbreeding populations that are reproductively isolated from other populations.
spine
a fin support element that is unpaired laterally, unsegmented, unbranched, and usually stiff and pointed; also refers to slender, sharply pointed bony processes not associated with fins.
spinous dorsal fin
the anterior portion of the dorsal fin that is supported by spines.
spot
a regularly shaped or rounded area of a colour different from adjacent areas.
squalene
oil present in the liver of some sharks.
standard length
length of a fish from snout tip to end of the posterior edge of the hypurals (at caudal-fin base).
stellate
star-shaped.
stinging spine
large, serrated bony structure on the tail of some rays.
stripe
a contrasting longitudinal pattern in the form of a line.
subequal
almost equal.
submarginal
near the margin of a body part; just inside the outer margin.
substrate
the substance forming the bottom of the sea or ocean.
subopercle
the lower rear bone in the gill cover.
subterminal
positioned near but not at end of an object.
supraorbital crests
enlarged ridges above the eyes.
symphysis
relating to the medial junction of either the upper or lower jaw.

T

tail
part of fish between cloaca and origin of the caudal fin.
taxonomy
the science of classification of plants and animals.
teeth
hard outgrowths on jaws, used for biting and masticating food.
teleost
a member of the large group containing most of the bony fishes.
tendril
a slender, curling barbel.
terminal
located at or forming the end of something.
terminal phase
colour phase of adult male wrasses and parrotfishes, usually more brightly coloured than initial phase.
thorn
 a slender, curling barbel.
tip
 the extremity of a part of a fish.
tooth rows
horizontal rows of teeth in the jaws.
total length
longest length of a fish, from snout tip to upper caudal tip or tail tip.
transverse
directed crosswise, across width (opposite of longitudinal).
trawl
fishing net that is towed behind a boat.
trunk
part of fish between head and tail; between fifth gill slit and cloaca.
truncate
terminating abruptly in a square end; a caudal-fin shape with a vertically straight terminal border.

U

uniformly
being the same; in terms of colour, it means all the same colour with no variation.
uniserial
teeth in a single row.

V

ventral
the bottom, lower surface or abdominal part of the body.
viviparous
producing live young from within the body of the parent female.
vomerine teeth
teeth on the vomer bone along the midline of the upper jaw.

W

X

Y

Z