Re: NANFA-- Pygmy Sunfish Connections

Christopher Scharpf (
Sat, 04 May 2002 22:31:11 -0400

> Killinuts have long considered pygmy sunfishes as "honorary killies,"

Actually the connection may be closer than you think.

Johnson and Patterson (1993) found that elassomids share some derived
features with synbranchids (swamp eels), mugilomorphs (mullets),
gasterosteiformes (sticklebacks, seahorses, etc.), mastacembelids (spiny
eels), and atherinomorphs (rainbowfishes, killifishes, etc.). They even
proposed a name for this new group -- Smegmamorpha -- an acronym using the
initials (S-M-E-G-M-A) of the six taxa which comprise the group. In
addition, the name derives from the Greek and Latin smegma, meaning
cleansing or cleansing agent. In this usage, the name refers to the authors'
"expectation that grouping these taxa will have the effect of cleaning up or
tidying the systematics of higher teleosts . . .".

More recently, Johnson and Springer (1997) presented evidence that in every
aspect an elassomidıs skeleton is trying to be like a stickleback's.

Chris Scharpf
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