The European eel is a Bavarichthys sister

Updated January 16, 2021
with revised scores that now nest Xiphias, the swordfish, between Bavarichthys and Anguilla, the European eel. This is a novel hypothesis of interrelationships supported by skull shape and details, lack of ribs (in eels and swordfish) and a lack of pelvic fins in these two taxa. Traditionally these three taxa nest with other taxa. This clade is close to the anchovy clade in the LRT.

Updated December 17, 2020
with the addition of Fundulus to the LRT, Anableps moves away from Amia and Anguilla.

Earlier we looked at
the moray eel and the electric eel.

Today the European eel,
(Anguilla anguilla) enters the large reptile tree (LRT, 1510 taxa) alongside the barracuda, Sphyraena. Phylogenetically they are some distance away from the electric eel (Electrophorus) and the moray eel (Gymnothorax).

Figure 1. The European eel, Anguilla anguilla in vivo.

Figure 1. The European eel, Anguilla anguilla in vivo.

Figure 5. Skull of Anguilla, the European eel, compares well with that of Bavarichthys. Note the loss and reduction of preorbital bones.

Figure 5. Skull of Anguilla, the European eel, compares well with that of Bavarichthys. Note the loss and reduction of preorbital bones.

Figure 6. Protanguilla is a recently discovered short eel, transitional from Bavarichthys in the LRT.

Figure 6. Protanguilla is a recently discovered short eel, transitional from Bavarichthys in the LRT.

Anguilla anguilla (Linneaus 1758; up to 80cm in length, 1.5 exceptionally) is the extant European eel, a sister to the barracuda in the LRT. It lacks pelvic fins and the tail has reverted to a straight tail. The life cycle includes breeding and young hatching in the mid-Atlantic with migration back to European rivers before the adults return to the mid-Atlantic. Anguilla lacks the circumorbital bones, traits shared with the Northern Pike, Esox. Bones are relabeled here based on sister taxa.


References
Gregory WK 1933. Fish skulls. A study of the evolution of natural mechanisms. The American Philosophical Society 23(2). Reprinted 1959, Eric Lundberg, Laurel FL, Noble offset printers, Inc. New York
Linnaeus C 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.

wiki/European_eel

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