Evolution and systematics

The suborder Percoidei contains more than 70 families and 2,800 species. This section on percoid fishes is widely divergent and includes the following 29 families: Ambassidae (glassfishes; Chandidae of some authors), Polyprionidae (wreckfishes), Serranidae (fairy basslets, groupers, hamlets, perchlets, sand perches, sea basses, soapfishes), Grammati-dae (basslets), Callanthiidae (splendid perches), Pseudochro-midae (dottybacks and eel blennies), Plesiopidae (longfins and roundheads), Glaucosomatidae (pearl perches), Opistog-nathidae (jawfishes), Priacanthidae (bigeyes), Apogonidae (cardinalfishes), Sillaginidae (sillagos or smelt whitings), Malacanthidae (tilefishes), Rachycentridae (cobias), Carangi-dae (jacks, pompanos, and trevallys), Menidae (moonfish), Leiognathidae (ponyfishes or slipmouths), Bramidae (pom-frets), Lutjanidae (snappers), Caesionidae (fusiliers), Loboti-dae (tripletails), Gerreidae (mojarras), Haemulidae (grunts and sweetlips), Dinopercidae (cave basses or lampfishes), Sparidae (porgies), Lethrinidae (emperors), Nemipteridae (monocle or threadfin breams), Polynemidae (threadfins), and Sciaenidae (croakers and drums). As with other percoid fishes, these families date largely from the Lower Tertiary during the Eocene or Miocene. Fossil records from the Eocene have been discovered for the Serranidae, Pseudochromidae, Lutjanidae, Haemulidae, and Lethrinidae. The Priacanthidae dates from the Middle Eocene. The Apogonidae, Sillaginidae, Carangidae, Menidae, and Spari-dae date from the Lower Eocene. The Malacanthidae and Sciaenidae date from the Miocene, and the Bramidae from the Upper Miocene. The Leiognathidae, however, dates from the Oligocene.

Diverse and speciose families include the Serranidae, with 62 genera and at least 449 species. This family is divided into three subfamilies, the Serraninae (sea basses), the Anthiinae

(fairy basslets and perchlets), and the Epinephelinae, with the latter arranged into five tribes. These are the Niphonini (Japanese ara or grouper), Epinephelini (groupers and coral trouts), Liopropomini (Swissguard basslets), and the Diplo-prionini and Grammistini (both soapfishes). Other speciose families include the Apogonidae, with 22 genera and at least 207 species; the Carangidae, with 33 genera and 140 species; the Lutjanidae, with 17 genera and 103 species; the Haemulidae, with 17 genera and 150 species; the Sparidae, with 35 genera and 112 species; and the Sciaenidae, with 70 genera and at least 266 species.

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