mojarra (mōhärˈə) [key], common name for a member of the family Gerridae, small tropical food fishes. The many American species are found chiefly off the S Atlantic coast but also along the Pacific coast. Mojarras are rarely over a foot (30 cm) in length and are silvery in color. The fins can be retracted into specialized grooves located under the anal and dorsal fins. They feed on plant life, extending their jaws in order to engulf their food. The thick-lipped mojarra belongs to the genus Cichlasoma. Mojarras are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, family Gerridae.
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