harvestfish, 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 Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Stromateidae.
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