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Jordan [D. S.]
Batfishes differ from other lophiiform fishes in having a cavity called the illicial cavity in the front of the head above the mouth into which the illicum and esca may be completely retracted. The illicium retracts into the skull at the rear of the illicial cavity. With the illicium retracted, the terminal esca lies within the illicial cavity. The esca is a grandular, bilaterally symmetrical structure, usually conspicuous, which can be exerted on the illicium only a short distance in front of the mouth. The illicium is the highly modified first dorsal fin spine; a small remnant of the second dorsal spine attached but embedded in skin. Soft dorsal fin small usually present, 1 to 6 rays lying posterior to the head. Anal fin short, 3-4 rays. Pectoral rays 10-19, pelvics I, 5, caudal 9. Vertebrae 16-21. Teeth minute, conical, in bands on jaws. Adult size in small species can be less than 50 mm SL, reaching 225 mm SL in large species. Scales always present in the form of pyramidal-shaped tubercles, but these highly variable. When tubercles tiny with long terminal spines, the fish looks as if covered with coarse hair. When tubercles are large, strongly calcified, and the bases close together, the fish appears encased in a thick carapace. Often, tubercles elaborately sculptured with bosses or crests; in other species they may be simple pyramids but very enlarged with thick strong terminal spines. Exceptions are structures associated with lateral line organs; these usually scale-like or boat-shaped, perforated for the emergent neuromast. Variation in squamation has been useful in diagnosing species. Species of the genus <b><i>Coelophrys </i></b> with globose bodies and tiny pelvics, evidently bentho-pelagic. All other batfishes (the great majority) strongly depressed for benthic life. In many, pelvic and anal fins relatively thick-skinned and stout for supporting the body off the substrate. Pectorals extend out on either side of the body on elongated radials, thus resembling "arms," oriented horizontal to the substrate as in <b><i>Lophius </i></b> . About 68 species, distributed around the world in tropical and subtropical seas except absent from the Mediterranean Sea. Bathymetric distribution relatively wide, with Old World genera known primarily from outer continental shelves and continental slopes to 2000-3000 m; one species known from 4000 m. New world species known primarily from upper continental slopes (to 1500-2000 m) and continental shelves, a few species occurring inshore to subtidal depths, with at least two reports of specimens taken upstream in rivers. All larvae and postlarvae so far known (only about 7 species in 5 genera) are pelagic. Currently ten genera are recognized. Classification follows Nelson 1994 [ref. 26204] except for one genus (<b><i>Solocisquama </i></b> ) described since then. The relationships of all except recently-described <b><i>Solocisquama </i></b> have been hypothesized in the single cladistic analysis to date, Endo and Shinohara 1999 [ref. 24197]. The relationship of <b><i>Solocisquama </i></b> to <b><i>Dibranchus </i></b> is discussed in Bradbury 1999 [ref. 23930]. The oldest family-group name for the batfishes appears to be Maltheidae Bleeker, 1859, originally given as "Familia Maltheoidei" (Bleeker 1859:xvi [ref. 371], also in Bleeker 1865:3 [ref. 416]). Gill 1863:89 [ref. 1680] cited Bleeker's name (as Malthaeoidae) and included two subfamilies, Maltheinae Bleeker, 1865 and Halieutaeinae Gill, 1863. Gill 1878:231 [ref. 12021] again used the names Maltheidae, Maltheinae, and Halieutaeinae, and a synonymy of family-group names was given in Gill 1883:555 [ref. 1722]. The earliest known use of the name Ogcocephalidae (as Oncocephalidae) was by Jordan 1895:506 [ref. 2394], then Goode & Bean 1896:497 [ref. 1848] spelled the name Onchocephalidae. The name appeared as Ogcocephalidae in Jordan & Evermann 1898:2735 [ref. 2445]; further research is needed to confirm the original authorship and date for the name. Because Ogcocephalidae has been used since the late 1800s</i></b>
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