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Keywords:

  • Amazon basin;
  • Hypopomidae;
  • miniaturization;
  • Neotropics;
  • Stegostenopos

A phylogenetic reconstruction of the Neotropical electric fish genus Hypopygus based on 47 parsimony-informative morphological characters is presented. A series of synapomorphies support the hypothesis of monophyly of Hypopygus, and partially resolve species-level relationships within the genus. Hypopygus species are recognized here as miniaturized fishes based on two criteria; first, a derived condition of diminutive body size, and; second, the presence of a suite of reductive morphological characters, including partial or total losses, simplifications, and reductions of the anal-fin rays, scales, cranial bones, and laterosensory canal system. Reductive characters associated with miniaturization comprise 45% of the total number of characters in the phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus. Miniaturization and reductive morphological evolution in Hypopygus are discussed here in the phylogenetic context. A taxonomic revision of Hypopygus is presented, in which five new species are described, two species previously assigned to the genus are redescribed, and a single known species of Stegostenopos is redescribed and included in Hypopygus as a junior synonym. Distribution maps and a key for all eight valid species of Hypopygus are provided, based on the examination of 5014 catalogued museum specimens.

© 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 163, 1096–1156.