Evolution and systematics

Members of this suborder include the Callionymidae (the dragonets) and the Draconettidae (deepwater dragonets). As with many other perciform fishes, members of this suborder likely radiated in the Eocene period. The systematic placement of this suborder begs further consideration as it has been placed under the nonperciform order Gobiesociformes (Gosline, 1970; Leis and Carson-Ewart, 2000), or linked to the family Gobiesocidae in a closely related suborder, the Go-biesocoidei, within the Perciformes (Helfman et al., 1997).

The Callionymidae consists of at least 17 genera and 156 species, although exact numbers vary because of two different and competing classifications proposed by T. Nakabo (1982 and 1983) and R. Fricke (1983). The Callionymidae genera include:

• Bathycallionymus (two subspecies)

• Callionymus (82 subspecies)

• Calliurichthys (one species)

• Dactylopus (one species)

• Diplogrammus (six subspecies)

• Draculo (five subspecies)

• Eleutherochir (one subspecies)

• Foetorepus (eight subspecies)

• Neocynchiropus (two subspecies)

• Paracallionymus (one subspecies)

• Paradiplogrammus (two subspecies)

• Progogrammus (one species)

• Pseudocalliurichthys (three subspecies)

• Repomucenus (10 subspecies)

• Spinicapitichthys (one species)

• Synchiropus (29 subspecies)

The Draconettidae consists of only two genera, Centrodraco (10 subspecies, but one with 2 subspecies) and Draconetta (one species).

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