Combtooth Blennies (Blenniidae) are a family of perch-like fish.
They are found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Some species in the family are also found in brackish and even fresh water. The fish generally have large eyes with a long continuous dorsal fin. The body is compressed, elongated and scaleless. The fish have teeth that resemble a comb. The largest species in this family is the Xiphasia setifer which can reach 53 centimeters in length, but most of the other members are much smaller. They are active and often colorful fish, making them popular to keep in aquariums. In general, the fish live near the bottom, often in shallow water. They are known to be able to live out of the water for short periods of time during low tide, with the strong pectoral fins serving as “feet”. They mainly feed on crustaceans, clams and other invertebrates. Some species food on algae and plankton. Some Combtooth Blennies form small groups, while others are solitary and territorial. The females lay eggs in shells or under overhanging rocks. The males guard the nest until the eggs hatch.
The genera Aspidontus, Meiacanthus, Petroscirtes, Plagiotremus and Xiphasia are known to possess fangs. Together, these five genera are also considered to belong to a separate suborder of Saber-toothed Blennies (or: Nemophini) (instead of different genera of the suborder Blennioidei, as in this article). Species of the genus Apistodontus and Plagiotremus are known to imitate other fish, such as (wrasses (Labridae)) in terms of colour, shape and behaviour. This allows them to bite the skin of some fish. See also false cleaner fish.
There are about 371 species in 53 to 59 genera, depending on the resource visited. Below is a list of genera of this family: