Chapter

Biodiversity

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/9780520255425.003.0003
Biodiversity

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The Ceratioidei, containing all the deep-sea anglerfishes, is by far the most species-rich vertebrate taxon within the bathypelagic realm—a vast, largely empty body of cold, nutrient-poor water that constitutes the world's oceans below 1000 m. When compared to other vertebrate groups that inhabit these waters, nothing comes close to anglerfishes for variety and number of forms. This chapter demonstrates this surprisingly rich diversity, providing evidence for the recognition of 11 ceratioid families, 35 genera, and 160 species. It begins with a concise summary of the most significant distinguishing characters of the suborder to serve as evidence that all subtaxa of the group are united in monophyly, that is, that all the diverse lineages of deep-sea anglerfishes evolved from a single common ancestor. This is followed by a brief synopsis of the families—an illustrated key of sorts that serves as a means of identification of each major lineage, while at the same time providing a better understanding of the family and generic accounts that follow.

Keywords: Ceratioidei; anglerfishes; subtaxa; monophyly

Chapter.  58625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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