The family Melanocetidae includes globose bathypelagic anglerfishes, easily separated from members of allied families by having a combination of features that includes 12 or more dorsal-fin rays, three to five anal-fin rays, a huge mouth, and numerous long fang-like teeth (Bertelsen, 1951; Pietsch, 1972a; Pietsch and Van Duzer, 1980). The only currently recognized genus of the family was established by Günther (1864) with the description of Melanocetus johnsonii, based on a single female specimen collected in the Atlantic Ocean off Madeira. Since that time, 13 additional species based on females have been described. The family currently includes six recognized species (Pietsch and Van Duzer,1980; Balushkin and Fedorov, 1981)
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