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common name for a fish of the family Stromateidae (butterfish family), a family of fishes with almost circular bodies and small mouths. The butterfish, or dollarfish (genus Peprilus), is found from Maine to South Carolina during the summer. The harvestfish (P. alepidotus), a more southerly species, is called whiting in the Chesapeake Bay area, where it is most abundant. Members of the butterfish family range from 6 to 9 in. (15–23 cm) in length and average 1-2 lb (0.23 kg) in weight. They are found in schools on sandy bottoms close to shore. They are known for their habit of swimming under certain species of jellyfishes, where they find shelter and perhaps a food supply of small invertebrates that have become entangled in the tentacles, but they are also subject to fatal stings inflicted by these tentacles. The so-called Pacific, or California, pompano (P. simillimus) is a common Pacific butterfish. Harvestfishes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Stromateidae.
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