Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2019-04-11

A taxonomic revision of Cheilodactylidae and Latridae (Centrarchiformes: Cirrhitoidei) using morphological and genomic characters

Ichthyology Section, Museum of Natural Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7001.
Ichthyology Section, Museum of Natural Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
Pisces morwong trumpeter ultraconserved elements phylogenomics Centrarchiformes systematics


Systematic relationships within the Cirrhitoidei, a suborder of five closely related families, have been uncertain for over a century. This is particularly true in reference to the families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae, which have been revised numerous times over the past several decades. Species that have been included in these two families are found in temperate regions around the world, which has led to regionally-focused studies that have only exacerbated taxonomic confusion. Here we examine systematic relationships within the Cheilodactylidae and the Latridae using ultraconserved genomic elements with near complete taxonomic sampling, and place our results in the context of the Cirrhitoidei. Our results agree with previous findings suggesting that Cheilodactylidae is restricted to two South African species, with the type species of the family, Cheilodactylus fasciatus Lacépède, forming a clade with C. pixi Smith that together is more closely related to the Chironemidae than to other species historically associated with the genus. We also strongly resolve the relationships of species within the Latridae. As a result of our analyses we revise the taxonomy of Latridae, name a new genus, and re-elevate Chirodactylus and Morwong.



  1. Aberer, A.J., Kobert, K. & Stamatakis, A. (2014) ExaBayes: massively parallel Bayesian tree inference for the whole-genome era. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 31 (10), 2553–2556.

    Ahlstrom, E.H., Butler, J.L. & Sumida, B.Y. (1976) Pelagic stromateoid fishes (Pisces, Perciformes) of the eastern Pacific: kinds, distributions, and early life histories and observations on five of these from the northwest Atlantic. Bulletin of Marine Science, 26 (3), 285–402.

    Alfaro, M.E., Faircloth, B.C., Harrington, R.C., Sorenson, L., Friedman, M., Thacker, C.E. & Near, T.J. (2018). Explosive diversification of marine fishes at the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2, 688–696.

    Allen, G.R. & Heemstra, P.C. (1976) Cheilodactylus rubrolabiatus, a new species of morwong (Pisces: Cheilodactylidae) from Western Australia, with a key to the cheilodactylid fishes of Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 4 (4), 311–325.

    Barnard, K.H. (1927) Diagnoses of new genera and species of South African marine fishes. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 20 (115), 66–79.

    Beckley, L.E. (1985) The fish community of East Cape tidal pools and an assessment of the nursery function of this habitat. African Zoology, 20 (1), 21–27.

    Betancur-R, R., Broughton, R.E., Wiley, E.O., Carpenter, K., López, J.A., Li, C. & Zhang, F. (2013) The tree of life and a new classification of bony fishes. PLoS currents, 5.

    Betancur-R, R., Wiley, E.O., Arratia, G., Acero, A., Bailly, N., Miya, M. & Ortí, G. (2017) Phylogenetic classification of bony fishes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17 (1), 162.

    Bolger, A.M., Lohse, M. & Usadel, B. (2014) Trimmomatic: a flexible trimmer for Illumina sequence data. Bioinformatics, 30 (15), 2114–2120.

    Burridge, C.P. & White, R.G. (2000) Molecular phylogeny of the antitropical subgenus Goniistius (Perciformes: Cheilodactylidae: Cheilodactylus): evidence for multiple transequatorial divergences and non-monophyly. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 70 (3), 435–458.

    Burridge, C.P. & Smolenski, A.J. (2004) Molecular phylogeny of the Cheilodactylidae and Latridae (Perciformes: Cirrhitoidea) with notes on taxonomy and biogeography. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30 (1), 118–127.

    Chakrabarty, P. (2010). The transitioning state of systematic ichthyology. Copeia, 2010 (3), 513–515.

    Chen, W.J., Bonillo, C. & Lecointre, G. (2003) Repeatability of clades as a criterion of reliability: a case study for molecular phylogeny of Acanthomorpha (Teleostei) with larger number of taxa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 26 (2), 262–288.

    Chen, W.J., Santini, F., Carnevale, G., Chen, J.N., Liu, S.H., Lavoué, S. & Mayden, R.L. (2014a). New insights on early evolution of spiny-rayed fishes (Teleostei: Acanthomorpha). Frontiers in Marine Science, 1, 53.

    Chen, W.J., Lavoué, S., Beheregaray, L.B. & Mayden, R.L. (2014b) Historical biogeography of a new antitropical clade of temperate freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography, 41 (9), 1806–1818.

    De Buen, F. (1959) Lampreas, Tiburones, Rayas y Peces en al Estacion de Biologia Marine de Montemar, Chile. Revista Biologia Marina, 9 (1,2&3), 127–138.

    Drummond, A.J., Suchard, M.A., Xie, D. & Rambaut, A. (2012) Bayesian phylogenetics with BEAUti and the BEAST 1.7. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 29 (8), 1969–1973.

    Dudnik, Y (1977) Contribution to biology of larvae and fry of morwongs (Pisces, Cheilodactylidae) of Atlantic Ocean. Zoologichesky zhurnal, 56 (11), 1658–1667.

    Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. & van der Laan, R. (eds). (2019) Eschmeyer’s catalog of fishes: genera, species, references. Available from: (Accessed 1 Jan 2019)

    Faircloth, B.C., Sorenson, L., Santini, F. & Alfaro, M.E. (2013) A phylogenomic perspective on the radiation of ray-finned fishes based upon targeted sequencing of ultraconserved elements (UCEs). PLoS ONE, 8 (6), e65923.

    Faircloth, B.C. (2015) PHYLUCE is a software package for the analysis of conserved genomic loci. Bioinformatics, 32 (5), 786–788.

    Gill, T. (1886). Synopsis of the family of Cirrhitoids. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 14, 102–122.

    Gon, O. & Heemstra, P.C. (1987) Mendosoma lineatum Guichenot 1848, first record in the Atlantic ocean with a re-evaluation of the taxonomic status of other species of the genus Mendosoma (Pisces, Latridae). Cybium, 11 (2), 183–193.

    Grabherr, M.G., Haas, B.J., Yassour, M., Levin, J.Z., Thompson, D.A., Amit, I. & Chen, Z. (2011) Trinity: reconstructing a full-length transcriptome without a genome from RNA-Seq data. Nature Biotechnology, 29 (7), 644.

    Greenwood, P.H. (1995) A revised familial classification for certain cirrhitoid genera (Teleostei, Percoidei Cirrhitoidea), with comments on the group's monophyly and taxonomic ranking. Bulletin of the Natural History Museum. Zoology series, 61 (1), 1–10.

    Griffiths, C.L. & Lechanteur, Y. (2003) Diets of common suprabenthic reef fish in False Bay, South Africa. African Zoology, 38 (2), 213–227.

    Johnson, D.G. & Patterson, C. (1993) Percomorph phylogeny: a survey of acanthomorphs and a new proposal. Bulletin of Marine Science, 52 (1), 554–626.

    Kimura, K., Imamura, H., & Kawai, T. (2018). Comparative morphology and phylogenetic systematics of the families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae (Perciformes: Cirrhitoidea), and proposal of a new classification. Zootaxa, 4536 (1), 1–72.

    Kuiter, R.H. (1993) Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 437 pp.

    Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Kainer, D., Mayer, C. & Stamatakis, A. (2014) Selecting optimal partitioning schemes for phylogenomic datasets. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14 (1), 82.

    Lanfear, R., Frandsen, P.B., Wright, A.M., Senfeld, T. & Calcott, B. (2016) PartitionFinder 2: new methods for selecting partitioned models of evolution for molecular and morphological phylogenetic analyses. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 34 (3), 772–773.

    Lavoué, S., Nakayama, K., Jerry, D.R., Yamanoue, Y., Yagishita, N., Suzuki, N. & Miya, M. (2014) Mitogenomic phylogeny of the Percichthyidae and Centrarchiformes (Percomorphaceae): comparison with recent nuclear gene-based studies and simultaneous analysis. Gene, 549 (1), 46–57.

    Miller, M.A., Pfeiffer, W. & Schwartz, T. (2010) Creating the CIPRES Science Gateway for inference of large phylogenetic trees. In Gateway Computing Environments Workshop (GCE), 2010, pp. 1–8.

    Mirarab, S. & Warnow, T. (2015) ASTRAL-II: coalescent-based species tree estimation with many hundreds of taxa and thousands of genes. Bioinformatics, 31 (12), i44–i52.

    Near, T.J., Eytan, R.I., Dornburg, A., Kuhn, K.L., Moore, J.A., Davis, M.P. & Smith, W.L. (2012a). Resolution of ray-finned fish phylogeny and timing of diversification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109 (34), 13698–13703.

    Near, T.J., Sandel, M., Kuhn, K.L., Unmack, P.J., Wainwright, P.C. & Smith, W.L. (2012b) Nuclear gene-inferred phylogenies resolve the relationships of the enigmatic Pygmy Sunfishes, Elassoma (Teleostei: Percomorpha). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 63 (2), 388–395.

    Near, T.J., Dornburg, A., Eytan, R.I., Keck, B.P., Smith, W.L., Kuhn, K.L. & Wainwright, P.C. (2013) Phylogeny and tempo of diversification in the superradiation of spiny-rayed fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (31), 12738–12743.

    Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V. (2016) Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons.

    Randall, J.E. (1983) A Review of the Fishes of the Subgenus Goniistius, Genus Cheilodactylus, With Description of a New Species from Easter Island and Rapa. Bishop Museum Press.

    Randall, J.E. (2005) Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands (Vol. 1). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

    Roberts, C.D. (2015) Latridae. In: The Fishes of New Zealand. Roberts, C., Stewart, A L. & Struthers, C.D. (Eds.). Te Papa Press.

    Roberts, C.D. (2003) A new species of trumpeter (Teleostei; Percomorpha; Latridae) from the central South Pacific Ocean, with a taxonomic review of the striped trumpeter Latris lineata. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 33 (4), 731–754.

    Rohland, N. & Reich, D. (2012) Cost-effective, high-throughput DNA sequencing libraries for multiplexed target capture. Genome Research, 22 (5), 939–946.

    Sabaj, M.H. (2016) Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology: an Online Reference. Version 6.5 (16 August 2016). [Electronically accessible at, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Washington, DC.]

    Sanciangco, M.D., Carpenter, K.E. & Betancur-R, R. (2016) Phylogenetic placement of enigmatic percomorph families (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 94, 565–576.

    Shimodaira, H. & Hasegawa, M. (2001) CONSEL: for assessing the confidence of phylogenetic tree selection. Bioinformatics, 17 (12), 1246–1247.

    Shimodaira, H. (2002) An approximately unbiased test of phylogenetic tree selection. Systematic Biology, 51 (3), 492–508.

    Smith, M.M. (1980) A review of South African Cheilodactlyid fishes (Pisces: Perciformes), with descriptions of two new species. Ichthyology Bulletin of the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology, 42, 1–14.

    Smith, M. M. & Heemstra, P.C. (1986) Smith’s Sea Fishes. 1047 p. Johannesburg: Macmillan.

    Smith, W.L. & Craig, M.T. (2007) Casting the percomorph net widely: the importance of broad taxonomic sampling in the search for the placement of serranid and percid fishes. Copeia, 2007 (1), 35–55.

    Stamatakis, A. (2014) RAxML version 8: a tool for phylogenetic analysis and post-analysis of large phylogenies. Bioinformatics, 30 (9), 1312–1313.

    Tagliacollo, V.A. & Lanfear, R. (2018) Estimating improved partitioning schemes for ultraconserved elements. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 35 (7), 1798–1811.

    Whitley, G.P. (1957) Ichthyology illustrations. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales v. for 1955–1956, 56–71.