Table of Contents
The sea robins and their European relatives, the gurnards, suggest sculpins in their broad heads, slender bodies, large fanlike pectoral fins, in having two separate dorsal fins (a spiny and a soft rayed), and in the location of their ventral fins under the pectorals. But their entire heads are armored with rough bony and spiny plates. The Gulf of Maine is the northern limit for the family on the Atlantic Coast of America.
The armored sea robins are close relatives to the sea robins but they differ from them in four very noticeable ways: (1) the entire body is enclosed in an armor of bony plates, each plate with a spine; (2) it is only the two lower rays of the pectorals that form separate feelers; (3) each side of the front of the skull projects forward as a long flat process, so that the snout appears to be double; (4) they have 2 long barbels on the chin. They live on bottom in fairly deep water, and they are widespread in tropical to boreal seas. One species is a member of the Gulf of Maine fish fauna.
|KEY TO GULF OF MAINE SEA ROBINS AND ARMORED SEA ROBINS|
|1.||Front of snout only slightly concave as seen from above; no barbels on chin||2|
|Front of snout so deeply concave that it seems to be double when seen from above (fig. 247); two long barbels on chin||—||Armored Sea Robin, p. 471|
|2.||Pectoral fin with 2 broad dusky blotches; there is no prominent longitudinal stripe on the side of the body||—||Common Sea Robin, p. 467|
|Pectoral fin with only 1 broad dusky blotch; there is a prominent longitudinal dark brown stripe on each side of the body||—||Striped Sea Robin, p. 470|