DNA data were collected from a number of acanthomorph fishes for 12S rDNA (30 sequences) and 16S rDNA (39 sequences) to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of genera within Cetomimidae (whalefishes) and of this family within the Stephanoberyciformes/Beryciformes assemblage. The Cetomimidae are apparently monophyletic. Within the family, species of Gyrinomimus and Cetomimus form a clade but the former genus is paraphyletic with respect to the latter. Cetostoma is sister to Ditropichthys rather than to Gyrinomimus plus Cetomimus as suggested by morphological analyses. Rondeletiidae + Cetomimidae + Barbourisiidae are shown, as expected from morphological analyses, as a monophyletic group in the 12S rDNA analyses, but not in the 16S rDNA or combined analyses, although the shortest trees showing the group require only one extra step in each case. These three families plus Melamphaidae (our sample of Stephanoberyciformes) are not shown as a group in any analysis, with Melamphaidae being sister to Berycidae in the 16S and combined analyses, but dispersed in the 12S analyses. Maximum-parsimony trees without imposed constraints are notably shorter than trees constrained to show ordinal groupings or either of the two main current hypotheses of Stephanoberyciformes/Beryciformes relationships. The length difference is highly significant for most comparisons using either 12S or 16S rDNA sets or their combination, and significant or nearly so for all comparisons. In particular, the Beryciformes is unlikely to be monophyletic. The Holocentridae are included, with high bootstrap and Bremer support, in a clade of non-beryciforms comprising the Gempylidae, Zeidae, and Atheriniformes (the only higher acanthomorphs sampled) and not with other Beryciform families. In these data, the Berycidae are the sister to the Melamphaidae, a stephanoberyciform family. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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