Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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An order of actinopterygian (ray-finned) fishes consisting of a single family, Batrachoididae, collectively known as the toadfishes. The order Batrachoidiformes comprises a single family (Batrachoididae), four subfamilies, 23 genera, and approximately 80 species. Also known as the Haplodoci, the toadfishes are most closely related to the Lophiiformes, and the two groups collectively are known as the Pediculati. Individual members of the order are rather robust fishes, tapering posteriorly, with a broad flattened head, often with barbels or a fleshy flap. They also have an undivided posttemporal bone; dorsal, skyward-looking eyes; a large mouth and powerful jaws equipped with blunt teeth (some species have canine teeth); only three gill arches and reduced gill openings; pelvic fins in the throat area (jugular), with one spine and two or three soft rays; fanlike pectoral fins; a short, spinous dorsal fin consisting of two or three strong sharp spines; long soft dorsal and anal fins; a usually scaleless body covered with mucus; one to several lateral lines on the head and body; and mostly drab brown color variously marked with dark saddles and blotches. See also: Actinopterygii; Lophiiformes; Osteichthyes; Teleostei
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