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Keywords:

  • phylogeny;
  • morphology;
  • photo-atlas;
  • character analysis

ABSTRACT

The Comparative anatomy of the 11 recognized genera within Torpediniformes is described, systematically categorized, and illustrated in a comprehensive photo-atlas. Data are compiled into a character matrix and cladistically analyzed using parsimony to test hypotheses about the previously recognized subfamilies, while reconstructing the possible evolutionary history of Torpediniformes. Results are consistent with the previous rank-based classifications, regardless of the parsimony criteria used to generate the phylogenetic hypothesis, with one notable exception: a monophyletic Narcininae was never recovered. Torpedinoidea (=Hypnos + Torpedo) is supported by the presence of long, slender, flexible jaw cartilages, absence of a large rostral fontanelle, presence of suprascapular antimeres that are each shorter than the scapular process of the scapulocoracoid, antorbital cartilages that articulate on the anterior aspect of the nasal capsules and absence of a frontoparietal fontanelle. Subfamilial names Hypninae and Torpedininae are redundant with the genus names Hypnos and Torpedo and are not adopted here. Narcinoidea (=nontorpedinoid torpediniforms) is supported by unambiguous character transformations to the presence of a divided lower lip, labial cartilages, laterolingually compressed palatoquadrates, bifurcated antorbital cartilages, a rostral fontanelle, ventrally projecting nasal capsules, a dorsal rim of the synarcual mouth posterior to occipital condyle, posteriorly positioned lateral stays, and obtuse anterior margins of lateral stays. Narkidae is supported by unambiguous character transformations to the presence of an uncovered eye that protrudes above dorsal surface, a shared rim between the spiracle and the eye, an anterior nasal turret that projects ventrally, a nasal curtain that covers the upper lip and dentition when the mouth is closed, tab-like prepelvic processes, a mesopterygium that is shorter than propterygium but longer than metapterygium, a slender median rostral cartilage, and a basibranchial cartilage with an anterior margin that is depressed medially and a posterior margin that tapers. J. Morphol. 275:597–612, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.