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Boarfish is a common name, so it is not surprising that fish from two different marine families, from two different orders, with superficially similar snout-shaped faces share this name.

One species that bears the common name boarfish comprises the few species of the genus Antigonia, which according to some experts is the only genus in the family Caprioidae. Others add the genus Capros to this family. The family falls in the order Zeiformes, which extends back into the fossil record at least to the Eocene, the time when mammals assumed their present position as the dominant land animals. This order also includes the families Zeniontidae, Oreosomatidae, and Zeidae (dories), all of which are known as zeomorph fishes. Similar in shape to other members of the Zeiformes, boarfishes possess diamond- or rhombus-shaped bodies of medium size, up to 8-9 in (22 cm) long. Their bodies are relatively thin or compressed, and are covered with ctenoid scales—scales with saw-toothed edges. The boarfishes take their name from the snout-like shape of the end of their heads, which makes them look like boars (male pigs).

Boarfishes from the Caprioidae live in saltwater, again like other species in the order Zeiformes, and they are commonly found swimming near the bottom of their marine environment. Boarfishes inhabit such areas from India to the western Pacific and also in the Atlantic Ocean.

Besides the boarfishes of the Caprioidae, this common name is also applied to members of the marine family Pentacerotidae, or Histiopteridae, order Perciformes. Another common name for these fishes is armorheads. This family includes the silver-colored fishes of the genera Pseudopentaceros and Zanclistus, which are sought by commercial fishermen. Some of these fishes undergo a marked change in shape as they mature, which includes the development of an elongate snout resembling the snout of a pig. Some species from the Pentacerotidae can reach almost a meter in length.

The giant boarfish (Paristiopterus labiosus) is a relatively rare member of the Pentacerotidae which is known in Australia and New Zealand for excellent eating quality and sweet taste. Similarly popular for eating is the long-snouted boarfish (Pentaceropsis recurvirostris) from the waters off southern Australia.

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