Physical Characteristics

Short, stout body of 3.5 in (9 cm), covered with armor plates and with small fins other than the pectorals. Like other poachers (Agonidae), all fin rays are unbranched, and tail bones are fused. The rockhead, or pithead poacher, is most obvious for its wide, flattened head with a deep indentation in the top. Eyes and mouth are small. As a larva, the pectoral fins become enlarged like butterfly wings, and the body is covered with fine spines. The pelagic juvenile develops heavier, recurved body spines that hook toward the tail. These sharp hooks flatten into armor plates after settlement to the bottom.

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