…Well, at least it is not related
to the two tested eels in the LRT, the moray eel (Gymnothorax) and the European eel (Anguilla), which we looked at earlier here and here. The former is closer to lobe finned rhizodontids from the Devonian and Carboniferous. The latter is closer to barracuda. Are there other eels out there the tarpon might be closely related to? I’ll find out as I add taxa, I suppose.
the tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) has been considered an eel relative. Perhaps this is based on its life cycle, which includes elongated larvae born at sea. According to the Tennesee Aquarium, hatchling piranhas are also born tiny and slender.
in the large reptile tree (LRT, 1511 taxa) Megalops (Figs. 1,2) nested with the piranha, Serrasalmus (Fig. 3). The former has hundreds of the tiniest teeth lining its jaws. The latter has a few large triangular teeth.
Megalops atlanticus (Cuvier and Valenciennes 1847; up to 2.5m) is the extant Atlantic tarpon. Fast-swimming Megalops has large eyes and large fins. This open-seas predator sometimes uses its swim bladder as a lung by gulping air.
Cuvier G and Valenciennes A 1847. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome dix-neuvième. Suite du livre dix-neuvième. Brochets ou Lucioïdes. Livre vingtième. De quelques familles de Malacoptérygiens, intermédiaires entre les Brochets et les Clupes. 19: i-xix + 1-544 + 6 pp. Pls. 554-590.