Table of Contents
The members of this family are deep bodied and very much flattened sidewise, with one long dorsal fin that is soft rayed except for a few short weak spines at its forward end, an anal fin of corresponding size and shape, a deeply forked caudal fin, a blunt nose, and a small mouth. The two species that occur on the east coast of North America lack ventral fins, but the extremity of the pelvic bone projects through the skin as a spine but this is so short that it is likely to be overlooked unless felt for.
Two species occur in the Gulf of Maine: one (the butterfish) a common summer visitor, the other (the harvestfish) a rare stray from the south.
|KEY TO GULF OF MAINE BUTTERFISHES|
|1.||The forward one-fourth of the anal fin is only about 2 or 3 times as high as the rear portion of the fin. The margins of the anal and dorsal fins are only slightly concave in outline||—||Butterfish, p. 363|
|The forward one-fourth of the anal fin is at least seven times as high as the rear portion of the fin. The anal and dorsal fins are both very deeply concave in outline||—||Harvestfish, p. 368|