Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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A small order of teleost fishes collectively called dories. The order Zeiformes has representatives in all seas of the world, from the tropics to Antarctica; however, these fishes are most common in tropical and temperate zones, in waters of moderate depth to at least 1800 m (5900 ft). Most species are mesopelagic or bathypelagic. Structurally intermediary to the beryciform and perciform fishes, members of the Zeiformes are characterized by the following features: a body varying from moderately elongate to very deep and compressed; jaws usually greatly protractile; colors predominantly silvery or silver gray; an absence of an orbitosphenoid bone; a simple posttemporal bone rigidly united to the skull; a pelvic fin, each with one spine or none and from two to ten soft rays; a first dorsal fin with five to ten spines, usually strong; and an anal fin with one to four spines. Most species are of small size and of minor economic importance. See also: Beryciformes; Osteichthyes; Perciformes; Teleostei
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