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Gill [T. N.]
Gunnels are elongate, compressed perciform fishes of the marine littoral zone. They bear a close resemblance to pricklebacks (Stichaeidae). One dorsal fin, about twice as long as anal fin and extending from head to caudal fin. Dorsal fin supported by 73-100 stiff spines, anal fin with 1-3 spines in front of 32-53 soft rays; both fins reaching or confluent with base of caudal fin. Caudal fin rounded. Anal fin long, but shorter relative to body length than in pricklebacks. Pectoral fins absent in some gunnel species, minute or very small in others. Pelvic fins rudimentary, consisting of 1 spine and 1 ray; or absent, including pelvic girdle. No fleshy cirri on head or body. One pair of nostrils. Body covered with tiny, inconspicuous, mucus-covered cycloid scales. Mechanosensory lateral line canals of head opening through pores typically constant in number: nasal 2, occipital 3, interorbital 1, postorbital 6, suborbital 6, preopercular 5, and mandibular 4. Body lateral line represented by mediolateral row of superficial neuromasts, generally not discernible in preserved material. Teeth small and conical. Gill membranes broadly joined and free from the isthmus. Branchiostegal rays 5 or 6. Pyloric caeca absent. Ribs absent. Abdominal vertebrae with parapophyses united, forming hemal arches (hemonephrapophyses of Makushok 1958 [ref. 2878]). Vertebrae 80-105. Coloration cryptic, from yellow and brown to red or green, often with spots, blotches, and bands. Total length about 13 cm (5 in) to 46 cm (18 in); largest is the penpoint gunnel, <b><i>Apodichthys flavidus. </i></b> Mainly inhabit rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal areas, especially among kelp and other macroalgae; often found under rocks or in tidepools in intertidal zone. Feed on small crustaceans and molluscs. Three genera and 15 species. All but two gunnel species (<b><i>Pholis fasciata </i></b> and <b><i>P. gunnellus </i></b> ) occur only in the North Pacific Ocean. From this distribution, authors have supposed the North Pacific to be the center of origin for the group. This hypothesis is supported by the recent discovery of gunnels in Miocene deposits of Sakhalin that had not yet acquired all the derived characters found in extant Pholidae. The Miocene gunnels from Sakhalin represent the first fossil record for the family (Nazarkin 2002 [ref. 26849]). Yatsu (1981 [ref. 4814]) reviewed species in Pholidae, and from a cladistic analysis (Yatsu 1985 [ref. 5149]) reorganized the genera and species. His resurrection of the genus <b><i>Rhodymenichthys, </i></b> return of <b><i>Xererpes </i></b> to <b><i>Apodichthys, </i></b> and classification of <b><i>Ulvicola </i></b> in <b><i>Apodichthys </i></b> seem well founded. The classification in this checklist reflects the argument by Peden and Hughes (1984:291 [ref. 17445]) for retaining species in <b><i>Pholis </i></b> that Yatsu placed in <b><i>Allopholis. </i></b> The Pholidae are most closely related to the Stichaeidae, Zoarcidae, and other northern blennylike fishes (Makushok 1958 [ref. 2878], Gosline 1968 [ref. 26848]) and classified with them in the suborder Zoarcoidei (Nelson 1984 [ref. 13596], 1994 [ref. 26204]). Morphological studies have attested to the monophyly of the Zoarcoidei and the place of Bathymasteridae as the primitive sister group to the others (Anderson 1984 [ref. 26846], 1994 [ref. 21438]; Kiernan 1990:86 [ref. 26625], Imamura and Yabe 2002 [ref. 26810]), but the exact relationships of the Pholidae to other zoarcoids and their place in the phylogeny of Perciformes are still a matter for study. A preliminary analysis (Anderson 1984 [ref. 26846]) including representatives of all the zoarcoid families placed Pholidae in a clade with two other families of littoral fishes, the Stichaeidae and Scytalinidae, united by having a long, low skull; the Pholidae and Scytalinidae share loss of the pleural ribs. Pholidae Gill 1893 [ref. 26255] is the preferred family group name. Earlier names, such as Gunnelliformes Bleeker 1859 [ref. 371] and Muraenoides Lacépède 1800 [ref. 2709], based on some of the synonyms, have not been in use since 1899 or before. Therefore, conditions of Article 23.9.1 pertain. Although the spelling Pholididae is grammatically correct, the spelling Pholidae is allowed under Article 29.</i></b>
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