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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Beauty Of The Dragonet

Beauty Of Animlas | The Beauty Of The Dragonet | Dragonets are small perciform marine fish of the diverse family Callionymidae (from the Greek kallis, "beautiful" and onyma, "name"). Found mainly in the tropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific, the family contains approximately 186 species in 18 genera. The Draconettidae may be considered a sister family, whose members are very much alike though rarely seen. Due to similarities in morphology and behaviour, dragonets are sometimes confused with members of the goby family. 
These "little dragons" are generally highly colourful with cryptic patterns. Their bodies are elongated and scaleless; a strong spine guards the preopercle (part of the gill cover), which has been reported to be venomous in some species. All fins are large, showy and elongated; the first high dorsal fin usually has four spines; in males, the first of these spines may be further adorned with filamentous extensions. Dragonets have flattened, triangular heads with large mouths and eyes; their tail fins are fan-shaped and tapered.
The largest species, the longtail dragonet (Callionymus gardineri) reaches a length of 30 centimetres (12 in). At the other end of the scale, the Saint Helena dragonet (Callionymus sanctaehelenae) reaches a length of just 2 centimetres (0.79 in). Many species exhibit marked sexual dimorphism: males and females are coloured and patterned differently, and (in addition to the spine filament) males have a much higher dorsal fin. This theme is taken to extremes in the high-finned dragonet (Synchiropus rameus).
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