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© 2014 Elsevier Inc. Batfishes (Ogcocephalidae) are an understudied, group of marine anglerfishes that are dorsoventrally flattened and have an illicium and esca (terminal lure) used to attract prey. The family contains 10 genera and 75 recognized species from nearly all tropical and subtropical seas. Relationships among these taxa, as well as the position of Ogcocephalidae within Lophiiformes, remain poorly understood with previous studies showing conflicting, and poorly resolved results. The timing of divergence and depth of origination in the water column have also not been explored in any detail. In this study a concatenated nuclear (three genes) and mitochondrial (two genes) dataset was constructed across several anglerfish families to elucidate phylogenetic relationships among all ten batfish genera, to clarify the placement of Ogcocephaloidei within Lophiiformes, and to estimate divergence times using fossil calibrations. An ancestral state reconstruction was also conducted to examine the history of shifts in preferred habitat depths within batfishes. Phylogenetic analyses supported monophyly of each sub-order within Lophiiformes and placed Ogcocephaloidei as the sister group to Antennarioidei. Batfish genera were divided into an Eastern Pacific/Western Atlantic clade and an Indo-Pacific clade; Halieutaea was recovered as the sister group to all other batfishes. Based on divergence time estimations and ancestral state reconstructions of preferred depth, Ogcocephalidae is Eocene in age and originated on the lower continental shelf/upper continental slope (disphotic zone).

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Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

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