Included in Serranidae by earlier authors, and in Percichthyidae sensu Gosline, 1966 by some recent authors (see note)
by E. Tortonese
Moderate-sized to large, rather elongate fishes caudal peduncle rather deep. Opercle with 2 flat spines. Mouth terminal, moderately protractile; posterior end of maxilla exposed, not slipping under the sub-orbital bone; small teeth on jaws and vomer, no canines. Two separate dorsal fins, the first with 8-10 spines, the second with 1 spine and 11-14 rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 10-12 rays; no scaly process at the base of pelvic fin; caudal fin moderately forked. Scales small. Lateral line complete, but not extending onto caudal fin.
Mostly restricted to coastal and brackish waters in temperate and cold regions. Excellent food fishes.
Genera about 3; in Clofnam area 2.
Note. The systematic position of the genus Howella is not well established; it is included in the Percichthyidae by Fraser (1972), in the Apogonidae by Tortonese (1973) in Clofnam, in the Cheilodipteridae by Fedoryako (1976). The family Percichthyidae, as defined by Gosline (1966) is a heterogeneous assemblage of several, probably unrelated species. We treat Howella with the Moronidae but consider it as incertae sedis. The general features of the Moronidae are based only on the species occurring in the area.