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Triglidae facts for kids

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Sea robin
Temporal range: Eocene - recent, 48.6–0Ma
Helidonichthys spinosus.jpg
Red gurnard, Chelidonichthys spinosus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Suborder: Scorpaenoidei
Family: Triglidae
A. Risso, 1826


The Triglidae, commonly known as sea robins or gurnard, are a family of bottom-feeding scorpaeniform fish. They get their name (sea robin) from the orange ventral surface of the species in the Western Atlantic (Prionotus carolinus) and from large pectoral fins which resemble a bird's wings.

They are bottom-dwelling fish, living down to 200 m (660 ft), although they can be found in much shallower water. Most species are around 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) in length. They have an unusually solid skull, and many species also possess armored plates on their bodies. Another distinctive feature is the presence of a "drumming muscle" that makes sounds by beating against the swim bladder. When caught, they make a croaking noise similar to a frog, which has given them the onomatopoeic name gurnard.

Sea robins have three "walking rays" on each side of their body. They are derived from the supportive structures in the pectoral fins, called fin-rays. During development, the fin-rays separate from the rest of the pectoral fin, developing into walking rays. These walking rays have specialized muscle divisions and unique anatomy that differ from typical fin-rays to allow them to be used as supportive structures during underwater locomotion. These walking rays have been shown to be used for locomotion as well as prey detection on the seafloor via chemoreception highly sensitive to the amino acids prevalent in some marine invertebrates.

As food

Gurnard have firm white flesh that holds together well in cooking, making them well-suited to soups and stews. They are commonly used in the French dish bouillabaisse. One source describes gurnards as "rather bony and lacking in flavour"; others praise its flavour and texture.

They were often caught in British waters as a bycatch and discarded. However, as other species became less sustainable and more expensive they became more popular, with the wholesale price between 2007 and 2008 reported to have increased from £0.25 per kg to £4, and sales increasing tenfold by 2011. Gurnards also are now appearing in fish markets in the U.S.


Sea robins can be caught by dropping a variety of baits and lures to the seafloor, where they actively feed. Mackerel is believed to be the most efficient bait for catching sea robins, but crabs, bunker and other fish meat can also be used successfully depending on location. Sea robins can also be caught by lure fishing if lured near the substrate. They are often considered to be rough fish, caught when fishing for more desirable fish such as striped bass or flounder. Gurnard are also used as bait, for example by lobster fishermen.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Triglidae para niños

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