Mouth large, superior: upper jaw protractile
, with elaborate cartilages supporting premaxilla (Pietsch, 1984); lower jaw projecting, mandible with strong and sharp symphyseal process.
Characteristics of California Labridae: Mouth protractile
; jaw teeth separate, projecting outward; dorsal fin with 8-14 spines and 9-13 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 9-13 soft rays; caudal fin with 7+7 principal caudal rays; pectoral rays 12-19 soft rays; pelvic fins, 1 spine and 5 soft rays; 6 branchiostegal rays; gill rakers, 5-8 (upper limb) + 9-16 (lower limb) (note, gill raker counts for Semicossyphus pulcher are 6-7 + 10-11 = 17-19; R.
According to Blaber (2000), the highly protractile
mouth is a characteristic of Gerreidae family that allows them to capture small invertebrates and explore available food resources in substrate.