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As presently understood, Antennarius is an assemblage of 24 species that fall conveniently into six species-groups. Like most other members of the family Antennariidae, fishes of the genus Antennarius spend the greater part of their lives squatting on the bottom in shallow water. These fishes are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters. Despite their sedentary nature, nearly all are voracious carnivores that sit quietly waiting for smaller fishes to pass by, at which time they enticingly wriggle their bait to attract the potential prey to their cavernous mouths. Their ovaries are tightly rolled like a double scroll, and eggs are released embedded in a single, large, buoyant gelatinous mass. Besides their value in the aquarium trade, they are of no significant economic interest.

Whereas monophyly for each of the six species-groups can be supported by one or more synapomorphies, Pietsch and Grobecker (1987) were unable to find any convincing synapomorphic features to establish monophyly for the genus. Thus, Antennarius is defined by a combination of what appear to be primitive character states.


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