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The complete supraneural and dorsal and anal pterygiophore insertion patterns of over 900 specimens representing all 145 extant taxa of the Carangidae are reported, as well as those of several specimens comprising seven taxa among the other four carangoid families: Rachycentridae, Coryphaenidae, Echeneidae, Nematistiidae. The patterns of the carangids were variously partitioned and the resulting groups analyzed for the sequential arrangement of supraneurals and dorsal and anal pterygiophores and for total numbers of pterygiophores. Both procedures generate characters bearing on the intrarelationships and differentiation of the various taxa.
The composition of the first dorsal-fin pterygiophore in carangoids and other perciform fishes is discussed briefly. Depending on the taxon, there is evidence that supports findings that this element originates from one or two separate cartilages. Evidence is presented that the first dorsal-fin pterygiophore of the carangid Parastromateus niger variously comprises one simple pterygiophore or a fusion of two pterygiophores. We elected to treat either condition as a single pterygiophore.
A preliminary survey of the number of pterygiophores inserting anterior to the first hemal spine and those in the first interhemal spine space of acanthomorphs is provided. In addition to the five carangoid families, the survey includes data on selected taxa in 176 families. The carangine, Parastromateus, has 9 to 11 (modally 9) pterygiophores inserting in the first interhemal spine space (a post-flexion larva exceptionally has only 7), which is more than any other extant taxon studied. A great majority of acanthomorphs have 0, 1, or 2 pterygiophores inserting in that space; a relatively few have as many as 5 or 6, and only one or two have 7 or 8.
The appropriate tribal position of the Eocene fossil carangid, †Paratrachinotus tenuiceps (Agassiz), which has been assigned only to the family Trachinotidae (= tribe Trachinotini in present classifications), was examined. Based on supra-neural and pterygiophore insertion characters, but supported by other osteological characters, it was possible to exclude the fossil from any of the four extant carangid tribes. A new tribe, †Paratrachinotini, to accommodate the fossil, is described. Although additional, non-pterygiophore characters and a broadly based cladistic analysis are required to imply the closest relationship of the †Paratrachinotini, there are suggestions that it is closely related to the Carangini.