The Searobin Family – Triglidae
The fish of the Searobin (also known as Gurnards) or Triglidae Family are a group of relatively small fish known in Mexico’s fishing areas as rubios and vacas. There are currently seventy-seven Searobins found globally in all tropical and temperate seas. In Mexican waters twelve species are found in the Atlantic and eight in the Pacific. They are from two genera – members of the Bellator Genus have scaleless gill covers, eleven dorsal spines, and eleven dorsal rays; members of the Prionotus Genus have scaled gill covers, ten dorsal spines, and twelve to thirteen dorsal ray. The Searobins range from 12.0 cm (4.7 inches) to 43 cm (17 inches) in length and are less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) in weight. They are bottom dwelling (demersal) fish found over sandy, muddy or rubble bottoms at depths up to 660 feet.
The Searobins have moderately elongated bodies. They have large square bony heads that are covered with many ridges and spines. They lack barbells under their chin. Their mouth opens at the front or is slightly under the snout and has small needlelike teeth. They have two separated dorsal fins with 9 to 11 spines and 11 to 14 rays. Their pectoral fins vary in length but each species has three enlarged elongated free standing rays at the bottom of the fin that are detached from the main fin, which allows them to “walk” the sea bottom. They detect mollusks and small crustaceans by chemoreception (smell and taste). Searobins have the ability to generate a sound that is similar to a croaking frog. They also have sharp spines on their gill plates and dorsal fins that contain a mild poison that will cause slight pain in humans for two to three days. Their body is covered with rough scales.
Searobins are a frequent by-catch of bottom trawlers and are considered to be trash fish. A few of the larger Searobins are used as a food fish on a limited basis.
There are eight members of the Searobin or Triglidae Family, one from the Atlantic and seven from the Pacific, currently presented in this website:
Chevron Searobin, Bellator loxias
Leopard Searobin, Prionotus scitulus
Lumptail Searobin, Prionotus stephanophrys
Nakedbelly Searobin, Bellator gymnostethus
Rough Searobin, Prionotous ruscarius
Splitnose Searobin, Bellator xenisma
Twobeak Searobin, Prionotus birostratus
Whitesnout Searobin, Prionotus albirostris