The engraulid cephalic lateralis system of neuromasts, canals, and bones is represented by expanded canals, anastomosed primary and secondary canal branching patterns on the cheek, canal branching on the opercle and along the pectoral arch, and a foreshortened main trunk canal. The anterior supraorbital canal neuromast in Anchoa mitchilli is elliptical and deep to primary branch 2 with secondary ramifications. Other canal neuromasts are disc-shaped, and are often in pairs or series of three or four. An expanded orbital reticulum, formed by orbital, infraorbital and preoperculomandibular canal branches anastomosed over a dorsal portion of the eye, is present in A. mitchilli, Coilia neglecta, Encrasicholina purpurea, Engraulis encrasicolus, Setipinna tenuifilis, Thryssa baelama, and T. dussumieri. It may be as broadly inclusive in engraulids as a synapomorphy as is the rostral organ. The separate canal branches forming the engraulid orbital reticulum can be grouped as three patterns among nonengraulid clupeoids. Some primary and secondary canals of A. mitchilli, Dorosoma cepedianum, and Denticeps clupeoides are homlogs. Each set of homologs is assigned an identifying number from Stephens (1985). Recognized homologs justify support for Clupeomorpha. Maintaining the integrity of the delicate clupeomorph cephalic lateralis canal branching and tubule pattern when collecting, transporting, and storing will benefit future studies.
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