The Zeiformes (dories) are mid-water or deep (to 1000 m) marine acanthomorph fishes with a global, circumtropical, and circumtemperate distribution. Some species have a near-worldwide distribution, while others appear to be regional endemics, e.g., near New Zealand. Six families, 16 genera, and 33 species are currently recognized as valid. Relationships among them, however, remain unsettled, especially in light of recent proposals concerning the phylogenetic placement of zeiforms within the Paracanthopterygii rather than allied with beryciforms or percomorphs. The present study uses both morphological and molecular characters to investigate zeiform interrelationships given their revised phylogenetic placement and attendant changes to their close outgroups. Results indicate that revised outgroups affected the phylogenetic conclusions, especially those based on morphology. All analyses recovered monophyletic Zeidae, Cyttidae, and Oreosomatidae. Zeniontidae were recovered as polyphyletic, with the clade Capromimus Cyttomimus sister to Oreosomatidae. Based on morphological evidence, Grammicolepididae are paraphyletic. Parazenidae are monophyletic in all results except maximum likelihood based on molecular data. Morphometric analysis revealed a star-like radiation in morphospace with three diverging trends, each trend exemplified by convergences in body form. Overall, our results are suggestive of a rapid diversification among the major lineages of Zeiformes during the Late Cretaceous.
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