Definition of the Suborder Blennioidei and its Included Families (Pisces: Perciformes)
Abstract:The monophyly of the Blennioidei is hypothesized primarily on the basis of the osteology of five specialized character complexes involving the: dorsal gill arches, pectoral fin and girdle, pelvic fin and girdle, caudal fin, and anal fin. One pair of elements, the pelvises, of one complex appears to differentiate the blennioides from all other perciforms. The lateral surface of each pelvic bone is essentially convex and the two pelvises are united at their anterior and posterior ends, dorsally, and, variously, along their central medial surfaces, thus forming a bean or nut-like pod, which is open ventrally. The Blennioidei comprise six families: Blenniidae, Tripterygiidae, Clinidae, Chaenopsidae, Dactyloscopidae, and Labrisomidae. Monophyly, based on synapomorphies, is hypothesized for each of these families, except the Labrisomidae. The monophyly of the Labrisomidae remains to be hypothesized cladistically. Although new synapomorphies are proposed for some of the other five families, one or more synapomorphies for each of the five has already been recognized in the literature. The phylogenetic relationships of the blennioid families are not hypothesized. The enigmatic families Pterygocephalidae Hubbs (fossil) and Xenocephalidae Kaup, which are occasionally cited as blennioids, are discussed and excluded from the Blennioidei (Xenocephalidae may be a synonym of Dactylopteridae). Some of the characters of the Stichaeoidei are discussed. The stichaeoids, often and unfortunately called “northern blennioids,” show closer relationship to the zoarcoids than to the blennioids. To avoid confusion, the common name “northern blennioids” should be avoided; either the common name “stichaeoids” or “spiny worm-fishes” is suggested as a replacement.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1993
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