The Sea Chub Family – Kyphosidae
The fish of the Sea Chub or Kyphosidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as chopas. The family is small with only fifty-six global members placed in fifteen genera found circumglobally. They are normally drab in color, darker above and lighter below, and most have yellow or blue longitudinal stripes along their sides, which can quickly transition to a pale spotted phase indicative of aggressive behavior. Most are omnivorous, but feed mainly on benthic algae and small invertebrates associated with seaweed, with one species from the eastern Pacific being a mid-water feeding zooplanktivore. They are schooling fish known to form huge aggregations that swarm over reef surfaces in shallow waters. Adults are found in-shore over rocky bottoms, coral reefs, and in caves or schooling far off shore. Juveniles are pelagic and found among floating debris.
The Sea Chubs are medium-sized fish with the largest being 78 cm (31 inches) in length. They have oblong to oval compressed bodies with small heads which have small mouths with blunt snouts that are horizontal and open in the front with a set of close-set incisiform teeth in a regular row. Their teeth have round tips in a peculiar hockey-stick shape with a horizontal base. Their anal fins have 3 spines and 11 to 13n rays, their caudal fins vary from concave to forked, their dorsal fins are continuous with 11 to 14 spines folding down into a scaly grove and 11 to 15 rays, their pectoral fins are short, and their pelvic fins are short and originate behind the base of the pectoral fins. Their bodies are covered with small, thick, and rough scales.
The Sea Chubs are not of significant commercial importance. They are taken by artisanal fishermen with hooks and line, by gill nets or with spears. Their flesh is edible but not highly esteemed.
Six Sea Chubs are currently included in this website, one from the Atlantic, four from the Pacific and one from both the Atlantic and the Pacific.