Genera: 2; 26 species; 1 family, Pempheridae.
Region: western Atlantic Ocean, Indo-Pacific region.
Habitat: tropical; marine, occasionally brackish; shallow water.
Use: subsistence fisheries in Japan; marine aquaria.
Fish; mouth is subterminal and strongly oblique; some possess photophores.
Size: small; 16 to 28 cm.
Form: deeply keeled, compressed bodies; large eyes; both cycloid and ctenoid scales may be present; Parapriacanthus have much more cylindrical bodies.
Color: relatively subdued.
Fins: small, short dorsal fin begins before the body's midpoint and may have four to seven spines; the anal fin is extensive and usually has three spines.
Food: zooplankton, their primary food.
Behaviour: schooling fish; nocturnal; seek shelter under ledges or in the caves, nooks, and crannies of reefs or eroded, rocky shorelines during the day; sharing hiding places with cardinalfishes and bigeyes, also nocturnal species.