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Abstract

The centra of Lepisosteus are perichondral ossifications of arcualia (i.e., arcocentra), whereas those of Amia are direct perichordal ossifications (i.e., autocentra) that enclose the arcualia. The preural centra of Lepisosteus are monospondylous, whereas the ural centra are formations of inter- and basidorsal arcualia. In contrast, the preural centra of Amia are diplospondylous, whereas preural centrum 1 (and sometimes preural centrum 2) and ural centra are monospondylous. The ural centra of Lepisosteus are expansions of dorsal arcualia, but those of Amia are expansions of the basiventral autocentrum. This explains the fusion of the neural arches with the ural centra and the presence of autogenous hypurals in Lepisosteus, in contrast to the situation in Amia in which the compound ural neural arch (the fused ural neural arches) is free, and the hypurals are fused to the ural centra. Lepisosteus possesses true epurals, which are modified neural spines, whereas in Amia the “epurals” are positioned between the neural spines like radials. Lepisosteus and Amia possess a polyural caudal skeleton with a one-to-one relationship between ural centra and hypurals; the number of hypurals may be reduced in adult Lepisosteus.