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Evolutionary Relationships of the Sea Moths (Teleostei: Pegasidae) with a Classification of Gasterosteiform Families

Theodore W. Pietsch
Copeia
Vol. 1978, No. 3 (Aug. 10, 1978), pp. 517-529
DOI: 10.2307/1443620
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1443620
Page Count: 13
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Evolutionary Relationships of the Sea Moths (Teleostei: Pegasidae) with a Classification of Gasterosteiform Families
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Abstract

Members of the currently recognized acanthopterygian order Pegasiformes have an unusual feeding mechanism in which enlarged maxillovomerine cartilages are closely associated with the maxillae, premaxillae and dentaries forming a highly protrusible mouth. This is a unique mechanism among living teleosts, but apparently present in the Lower Eocene Ramphosidae, currently placed among the aulostomoid gasterosteiforms. This and other evidence support a gasterosteiform ancestry for the Pegasidae. The Pegasiformes are synonymized with the Gasterosteiformes. The fossil Ramphosidae are resurrected from the synonymy of the Macrorhamphosidae and placed with the Pegasidae in a new superfamily, the Pegasoidea. The Pegasoidea are proposed as the primitive sister-group of the Solenostomidae and Syngnathidae. The Solenostomidae and Syngnathidae are included in a new superfamily, the Syngnathoidea, which together with the Pegasoidea form the primitive sister-group of the Macrorhamphosidae, Centriscidae, Aulostomidae and Fistulariidae.

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