A Study of the Vertebral Column and Median Fin Osteology in Gobioid Fishes with Comments on Gobioid Relationships
Several osteological characters of the axial skeleton are surveyed in a broad assemblage of gobioid fishes comprising approximately 200 valid genera and over 500 valid species. The characters include: pattern of interdigitation of the spinous dorsal-fin pterygiophores with the neural spines of the vertebrae; vertebral number and distribution between precaudal and caudal vertebrae; number of epural bones; and number of anal fin pterygiophores anterior to the first haemal spine. All of these features show considerable stability at the generic level and appear useful in the characterization of groups. We have been able to place the large majority (about 95%) of the species examined by us into one of 32 groups on the basis of these characters. The groups are uneven in both size and position in the taxonomic hierarchy ranging from some comprising a single genus to one containing over 50 currently recognized genera. The nature of several of the characters renders their phylogenetic polarization impossible to defend, consequently 16 of the 32 groups are only phenetically united. All of the groups are proposed without formal designation as working hypotheses in need of corroboration or refutation. The geographic distribution of the groups and their constituent genera has been determined in 10 major marine faunal regions and these data are presented.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1988-03-01
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