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Lepidopus Gouan, 1770

Profile of head gently rising from tip of snout to behind the orbit, then sharply to dorsal fin origin. Frontal ridges elevated; nape strongly convex with sagittal crest. Lower hind margin of opercle convex. Spinous and soft portions of dorsal fin not divided by notch; spinous portion very short, indistinct. Second spine before anal fin small, triangular; anterior rays in anal fin reduced or absent, posterior 20-24 support fin. Pelvic fin of 1 small scale-like spine, in juveniles of I spine and 2 tiny rays. Caudal fin present, forked. Lateral line slowly descending from above gill opening to mediolateral position.

Habitat: benthopelagic on continental shelf and along its edge down to 400 m; usually over sandy and muddy bottoms at 100 250 m. Commercially exploited in Portugal and Morocco. Food: fishes, crustaceans, squids. Reproduction: end of winter to early spring off North African coast, mostly summer to autumn in Adriatic sea.

Distribution: eastern North Atlantic from France to Senegal, including the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and offshore banks; individual stragglers as far north as Iceland; western Mediterranean. Elsewhere, in southern hemisphere (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand).

Species 2 or 3; in Clofnam area 1.

Genus Lepidopus