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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Peristedion cataphractum Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: head large, bony, with many ridges and spines; snout broad and flattened dorso-ventrally, flanked laterally by a pair of short and broad, or long and slender, projections (rostral extensions) of the suborbital or preorbital bones; mouth inferior; mandibular and chin barbels present, two of them rather long and branched; no teeth in jaws or on roof of mouth; tongue absent. Two separate dorsal fins without interval between them, the first with 7 or 8 spines, the second with 18 or 19 rays; anal fin with 27-30 rays; pectoral fins with the 2 lowermost rays separated from the others. Body elongate, with an octagonal section and covered by 4 rows of spinous scutes on each side; 17-21 scutes in a longitudinal row. Colour: more or less dark pink or red, pale ventrally. Size: to 40 cm, usually 20 cm.

Habitat: bottom fishes on muddy or rocky bottoms of the shelf from 30 to 500 m depth. Behaviour: gregarious; these fishes dig the mud with their rostrum, searching for their prey; they stand and walk on the bottom with their free pectoral rays. Food: no data. Reproduction: after a pelagic phase, the juveniles live in coastal waters before migrating to deeper waters.
Distribution: in the area, common in Mediterranean and the Atlantic from Bay of Biscay to south of Morocco; to the north, rare in the English Channel and British Isles. Outside the area, common to Angola.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Emery, 1886: 149, pl. 9 (fig. 1-6 & 13) | Marion, 1894: 119 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 740 | Sparta, 1947: 5, pl. 1 (fig. 1-13) | Padoa, 1956: 640, fig. 516-518, pl. 40 (fig. 9-10).
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 535, pl. 9 (fig. 8) | Frost, 1929: 260, pl. 3 (fig. 16) | Sanz Echeverría, 1929: 288, pl. 13 (fig. 14-15) | Chaine & Duvergier, 1934: 135, pl. 3 | Chaine, 1935: 237.

Armed gurnard (Peristedion cataphractum)