Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Last reviewed:September 2015
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- Elopidae (ladyfishes and tenpounders)
- Megalopidae (tarpons)
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An order of teleost fishes, comprising the ladyfishes, tenpounders, and tarpons, in the superorder Elopomorpha. The members of the order Elopiformes (elopiforms) are actinopterygian (ray-finned) fishes and are characterized by the following features: a slender body with abdominal pelvic fins and a deeply forked caudal fin supported by seven hypurals (flattened bones along the ventral side of the urostyle); a large mouth, terminal or superior, bordered by premaxillae and toothed maxillae; teeth also present on the parasphenoid and mesopterygoid bones and the tongue; mesocoracoid and postcleithra bones; a well-developed gular plate; and cycloid scales. In addition, all elopomorphs, including the elopiforms, share a distinctive type of larvae, namely, the leptocephalus-type larvae (elliptical, slender, transparent larvae). Elopiforms have small leptocephali, about 5 cm (2 in.) in length, with a well-developed, forked caudal fin and strong teeth (in contrast, eel leptocephali lack a caudal fin). There are two families of elopiforms: Elopidae and Megalopidae. See also: Actinopterygii; Osteichthyes; Scale (zoology); Teleostei
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