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Introduction

While appearing superficially like himantolophids or basal oneirodids, especially members of the genus Oneirodes, metamorphosed specimens of the deep-sea ceratioid anglerfish family Diceratiidae are unique among all other members of the suborder in having a second light-bearing, dorsal-fin spine emerging from the head directly behind the base of the illicium. On that basis alone they cannot be confused with any other family. Although easily recognized, specimens of diceratiids are rare; the systematics of the family is based almost solely on metamorphosed adolescent females. Only two larvae, one sexually mature female, and one metamorphosed male are known. Differences in illicial length and pterygial insertion and morphology are diagnostic at the generic level, but escal morphology is the only diagnostic character complex at the specific level. Consequently specimens with missing or damaged escae are impossible to identify. Two genera and six species are currently recognized.

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