Spadefishes (Batfishes)
By Keiichi Matsuura and Seishi Kimura

Ephippus orbis

Platax orbicularis

Platax pinnatus

Platax teira

Body deep, orbicular and strongly compressed, reaching to 20 cm. Head short, its length shorter than half of body depth; interorbital region and anterior part of head naked or head covered with scales. Mouth small, rear end of upper jaw not reaching vertical through anterior edge of eye; upper jaw not protrusible; jaws covered with bands of slender setiform or compressed teeth. Dorsal fin single or deeply notched before soft-rayed part, with V-IX spines and 19-38 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 15-27 soft rays; pectoral fins rounded and usually shorter than head; caudal fin truncate or wedge shaped. Scales large and smooth, or small and ctenoid. Lateral line complete. Color: adults silvery, silvery blue-green, yellowish silvery; frequently with vertical dark bars.

Similar families occurring in the area. Drepanidae: upper jaw greatly protrusible; pectoral fins elongate reaching posterior part of anal fin base. Chaetodontidae: dorsal fin with VI to XVII spines and 14-34 soft rays; anal fin with III-V spines and 15-24 soft rays. Monodactylidae: pelvic fins rudimentary or absent. Scatophagidae: dorsal fin notched or divided to base before soft rayed part, with XI or XII spines and 15-18 soft rays; anal fin with IV spines and 13-17 soft rays.

Remarks. Occurring in various shallow water habitats including estuaries, harbors, and coral reefs. Marketed fresh but with small commercial importance.