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an order of bony fishes. (Some ichthyologists include Scorpaeniformes in the order Perciformes.) The posterior end of the second suborbital ossicle is an appendage of varying shape that usually reaches the preopercle. In most species the pelvic fins are located beneath the pectorals; there usually are two dorsal fins. The swim bladder, which is not present in all species, is not joined to the esophagus.
There are six suborders, embracing 31 families (about 300 genera). The fishes are distributed in all seas—from the arctic to the antarctic—and in fresh waters of Eurasia and North America. They are predominantly benthic and bathypelagic; a few species, for example, those of the genera Pleurogrammus and Comephorus, are pelagic. Some species deposit roe, and others are viviparous (Sebastes). A number of species care for their young (Cyclopterus).
Many Scorpaeniformes are commercially valuable. Some species, for example, the fire-fish and the stonefish, are armed with spines, at the base of which are glands that secrete an extremely toxic substance; stings are very dangerous, even for humans.