Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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An order of deep-sea, teleost fishes, containing the eel-like gulpers. Members of the order Saccopharyngiformes (see illustration) belong to the subdivision (or superorder) Elopomorpha, whose constituent taxa have a leptocephalous (elongated and flattened side to side) larval stage. These deep-sea, actinopterygian (ray-finned) creatures are among the most aberrant and bizarre of all fishes, having lost a number of structures common to most fishes, including the symplectic bones, opercular bones, branchiostegal bones, scales, pelvic fins, ribs, pyloric caeca, and swim bladder. The caudal fin is absent or rudimentary, the gill opening is small and ventral, the dorsal and anal fins are long, and the jaw and hyomandibular bones are greatly elongated and attached to the neurocranium by only one condyle. See also: Actinopterygii; Deep-sea fauna; Osteichthyes; Teleostei
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