Chapter

Introduction and Historical Perspective

Theodore W. Pietsch

in Oceanic Anglerfishes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255425
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942554 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255425.003.0001
Introduction and Historical Perspective

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Ceratioid anglerfishes are among the most intriguing of all animals, possessing a host of spectacular morphological, behavioral, and physiological innovations found nowhere else. The suborder is taxonomically diverse: with 160 currently recognized species, it forms a major contribution to the biodiversity of the deep sea. It is exceedingly widespread geographically, occurring in deep waters of all major oceans and seas of the world, from high Arctic latitudes to the Southern Ocean; while some species appear to be almost cosmopolitan in distribution, many others have surprisingly small, restricted vertical and horizontal ranges. Their relative abundance, high species diversity, and trophic position as the top primary carnivores in meso- and bathypelagic communities make them important ecologically. Their unique mode of reproduction has significant biomedical implications to the fields of endocrinology and immunology. Yet, despite these many aspects of biological interest and importance, as well as a large amount of revisionary work published in the 1970s and early 1980s, ceratioid anglerfishes has remained poorly known.

Keywords: ceratioids; reproduction; taxonomy; geographic distribution

Chapter.  9998 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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