The Bizarre Frogfishes (Antennariidae: Lophiiformes): Evolutionary Relationships, Life History, and Conservation Implications
(photo by Rod Klein)
Frogfishes (Order Lophiiformes: Suborder Antennarioidei: Family Antennariidae) are a morphologically diverse group of fishes found in nearly all subtropical and tropical oceans and seas of the world. Most genera, however, are endemic to relatively small regions within the Indo-Australian archipelago. Frogfishes, like nearly all anglerfishes, have a modified first dorsal spine that serves as a luring apparatus. Due to problematic morphological characters, intergeneric relationships had remained unresolved until a molecular study was conducted in 2012. This phylogeny was constructed using fragments of the 16S, COI, and RAG2 genes. Ovarian morphology, reproductive behavior, and life history were also examined. Results from the molecular study produced a clade representing genera endemic to regions within the Indo-Australian archipelago and another representing genera that are more widely distributed in tropical and subtropical zones around the world. Novel reproductive morphology, life histories, and geographic distribution support the clades obtained from molecular data. Conservation implications and field observations are also discussed.
(photo by Rachel Arnold)
Dr. Rachel Arnold is a member of the science faculty at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington. She received her PhD from the University of Washington where her research focused on the evolutionary history of the anglerfishes (Order Lophiiformes). Her research resulted in the addition of six newly described species, new information about distinct life histories and reproduction, and a novel hypothesis of the evolutionary relationships of anglerfishes based on molecular data. Rachel is currently studying population genomics of forage fishes important to the Coast Salish Peoples. When she’s not working, she enjoys training for triathlons and hiking with her kids.
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