The family Caristiidae, commonly known as manefishes or veilfins, includes seven species of mesopelagic, oceanic fishes found throughout the major ocean basins of the world. We present a partial revision of the family, including all of the “small mouth” species, which are distinguished from other species of the family by having an upper jaw that extends approximately to midorbit and is almost completely covered by the thin bones of the suborbital series, a broad suborbital space, and by the lack of palatine teeth. This group, previously thought to include only the genus Paracaristius, is described in full, including the establishment of a new genus and three new species. The new genus Neocaristius includes only Neocaristius heemstrai, a distinctive species that is distinguished from all other species in this group by dentition, lateral-line morphology, dorsal-fin origin, and orbit size, as well as other meristic and morphometric characters. Neocaristius heemstrai is a circumaustral species, known from the South Atlantic, South Pacific, and southern Indian Ocean. The genus Paracaristius includes four species, P. maderensis and three species newly described herein. Species of Paracaristius are distinguished from each other on the basis of meristics, dentition, presence or absence of papillae on the hyoid arch, and placement of the dorsal fin. Two species of Paracaristius, P. nemorosus, new species, and P. aquilus, new species, are apparently resticted to the eastern tropical Atlantic, while the other two, P. nudarcus, new species, and P. maderensis are more widespread.
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Vol. 2011 • No. 3