Evolution and systematics

No synbrachiform fossil is known. The Mastacembeloidei were removed from the Perciformes and added to the Syn-branchiformes after a phylogenetic analysis by Johnson and Patterson. These authors consider the Synbranchiformes to be monophyletic and related to Mugiliformes, Atherino-formes, Gasterosteiformes, and Smegmamorformes.

There are two suborders: Synbranchoidei and Mastacembeloidei, or Opisthomi. The Synbranchoidei has one family, the Synbranchidae; four genera; and 15 species. The Mastacembeloidei has two families: Chaudhuriidae, with four genera and five species, and Mastacembelidae. The latter family is divided into two subfamilies, Mastacembelinae, with two genera and 25 species, and Afromastacembelinae, with two genera and 42 species). There are a total of 87 species.

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