Paraulopidae and Paraulopus, a new family and genus of aulopiform fishes with revised relationships within the order
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A species group hitherto concealed within Chlorophthalmus (Chlorophthalmidae) is described as a new family and genus of Aulopiformes, Paraulopidae and Paraulopus, respectively. Paraulopus clearly belongs in Aulopiformes owing to an enlarged uncinate process on the second epibranchial, the absence of a swimbladder, and fusion of the medial processes of the pelvic girdle, but characterized by having the following combination of characters: the fourth basibranchial with a long tail but no gap separating fourth basibranchial and fifth ceratobranchial, epipleural bones distributed from posterior portion of abdominal vertebra to anterior portion of caudal vertebra, and flesh specimens of most species with paired olive spots dorsally on body. The phylogenetic position of Paraulopus is defined by a cladistic analysis of 101 morphological characters, in 21 genera of Aulopiformes. In a single most parsimonious tree, Paraulopus and Chlorophthalmus are in two different major clades, there being four major clades in all, roughly corresponding to the four suborders of Aulopiformes. Paraulopidae is included in the suborder Synodontoidei. In addition, Bathysauroides is transferred to Chlorophthalmoidei from Giganturoidei, and Bathysauroides and Bathysauropsis are elevated to familial status.
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