FLYING GURNARDS - DACTYLOPTERIDAE
Benthic. Reaches about 50 cm maximum length.
Bears superficial resemblance to triglids; creates sounds by stridulation using the hypomandibular bone. Exhibits a 'walking' movement on the sea floor, accomplished by an alternate movement of the pelvic fins.
Feed on sand-dwelling invertebrates. Xenocephalus armatus, the armored blenny from New Ireland, formerly placed in its own family, may belong here
Head large and blunt, with the bones forming a helmet; with keels and a long preopercle spine. Scales scute-like. Pectoral fins greatly enlarged, the inner rays free; total 28-37 rays. Two isolated dorsal spines preceeding the two dorsal fins. Thoracic pelvic fins; with 1 spine and 4 soft rays. Lateral line absent. Vertebrae 22.
Greek, daktylos = finger + Greek, pterygion = fin