Morphological evidence supporting the monophyly of the family Polynemidae (Teleostei: Perciformes) and its sister relationship with Sciaenidae


The monophyly of Polynemidae was evaluated and its sister relationship with Sciaenidae discussed, based on osteological and myological characters from 24 polynemid species in eight genera, with comparisons with acanthomorph fishes from literature and 86 species in 8 orders and 63 families examined. Polynemidae was inferred as a monophyletic group, strongly supported by 19 synapomorphies, including four unique characters (unnamed bone present on cephalic sensory canal extending from supratemporal, third actinost not supporting pectoral-fin rays, section A1 comprising lateral and medial elements, and division of obliquus inferioris present between lower postcleithrum and rod-like process on coracoid) in percoids. In addition, seven pectoral girdle characters were recognized, with the girdle possessing filament-like sensory rays, an adaptation to benthic life in muddy water. The sister relationship of Polynemidae and Sciaenidae was supported by six synapomorphies, including two rather rare (a single branchiostegal ray suspended by epihyal and posterior portions of pelvic bones on both sides interdigitated) and two unique characters (metapterygoid and quadrate interdigitated medially and anterior extension of the nasal canal).

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We sincerely wish to thank Prof. Mamoru Yabe (Hokkaido University) for his guidance during this study and critical reading of the draft manuscript. We are most grateful to the following persons for giving us permission to examine specimens of their institutions: Jeffrey T. Williams (USNM), David Catania (CAS), Michael Hammer and Gavin Daly (NTM), Hiroyuki Motomura (KAUM), Yukio Iwatsuki (MUFS), Seishi Kimura (FRLM) and Hsuan-Ching Ho (NMMB). We especially thank Dr. Hiroyuki Motomura, who gave much valuable advice on fish specimen collections and polynemid taxonomy. The first author (SK) is greatly indebted to the China Scholarship Council and Office of Hakodate City, which supported her scholarship and funding throughout this study. This study was partly supported by JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) KAKENHI Grant Number 16K07472 and JSPS Core-to-Core Program-Research and education network on Southeast Asian coastal ecosystems to the second author (HI). We are grateful to Dr. Graham S. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) for English corrections of the draft manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shihua Kang.

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Kang, S., Imamura, H. & Kawai, T. Morphological evidence supporting the monophyly of the family Polynemidae (Teleostei: Perciformes) and its sister relationship with Sciaenidae. Ichthyol Res 65, 29–41 (2018).

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  • Polynemidae
  • Anatomy
  • Pectoral fin
  • Monophyly
  • Sciaenidae