Guide to the Marine Fishes of the Gulf of California
This section provides an annotated list of over 300 species of the most common bony fishes present in the Gulf of California. For the most part they are listed in hierarchal taxonomic order according to Nelson (1994) with the few exceptions noted within the text. Each species description includes the following: the common English name(s), the common Spanish name(s) when available, a description of the fish, maximum length, meristics, habitat and distribution. Species that I have been able to observe in their natural habitat or maintain in aquariums contain more information regarding specific habitat, distribution within the Gulf, behavior, and in some cases I have been able to include a photograph. For species that I have obtained as specimens from fishermen or from museum collections I have looked at there is a detailed drawing or photograph of the specimen included with the text.
In this region, the subdivision Elopimorpha contain the orders Elopiformes, Albuliformes and Anguilliformes and are characterized by their unique larval state known as leptocephalous larvae. Leptocephalus larvae are long, ribbon-like, transparent larvae with a relatively small head. As the larvae metamorphoses the ribbon-like body shrinks and becomes more proportional to the head size, internal organs start to form, and the body becomes more opaque. The order Anguilliformes contains the families of “true” eels, of which three families are represented in this region.