Evolution and systematics

The anglerfishes (order Lophiiformes) are a remarkable assemblage of approximately 65 genera and nearly 300 species of curious and wonderfully bizarre fishes. Lophiiformes is one of six orders that make up the euteleostean superorder Para-canthopterygii. Of the six paracanthopterygian orders, the toadfishes (order Batrachoidiformes) are considered to be most closely related to the anglerfishes. The fossil record extends back to the Eocene, with representatives from the families Antennariidae and Lophiidae having been found in Eocene formations of Italy.

Pietsch and Grobecker recognized 18 lophiiform families and divided them among five suborders. In phylogenetic order and from most primitive to most dervied, they are: Lophioidei (containing only one family, Lophiidae, the monk-fishes), Antennarioidei (four families, the frogfishes), Chau-nacoidei (one family, Chaunacidae, the sea toads or coffinfishes), Ogcocephaloidei (one family, the batfishes), and Ceratioidei (11 families, the bathypelagic anglerfishes).

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