Compiler and date details
9 November 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese
The class Chondrichthyes includes two subclasses, the Holocephali (chimaeras) and the Elasmobranchii (all other sharks and rays).
Relationships of the subclass Elasmobranchii have been the subject of extensive studies, but no full concensus has been reached. Major works include those of Compagno (1977, 1988), Shirai (1992, 1996), Last & Stevens (1994, 2009) and Carvalho (1996). The classification used here is a modification of Nelson (2006) and consistent with Last & Stevens (2009). Among the rays, Nelson (1994) recognised a single order, Rajiformes, with four suborders, but the system of McEachran & Aschliman (2004) is followed here with each group regarded as a distinct order. Some workers still recognise only a single order of skates and rays with up to 13 suborder (Compagno et al. 2005). McEachran et al. (1996) recognised six orders for the rays, dividing the Rajiformes into Rajiformes, Rhiniformes and Rhynchobatiformes, but subsequently McEachran & Aschliman (2004) recognised only five orders of rays and that is followed here. The classification is similar to that followed by Beesley & Wells (2006), except that the Rhinobatiformes is separated from the Rajiformes. Nelson (2006), however, presented a classification similar to the one used here, differing largely in the number of recognised families. Differences between the classification used here and that of Nelson's (2006) are noted in the appropriate family or order introductions. Compagno (1999) provided a checklist of species. Molecular studies suggest earlier divergence of the major groups than studies of fossils would indicate (Heinicke et al. 2009). Last & White (2011) discussed biogeography of Australian species.
Carvalho, M.R. de 1996. Higher-level elasmobranch phylogeny, basal squaleans, and paraphyly. pp. 35-62 in Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R. & Johnson, G.D. (eds). Interrelationships of Fishes. San Diego : Academic Press 496 pp.
Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Checklist of living elasmobranchs. In, Hamlett, W.C. (ed.). Sharks, Skates, and Rays: the Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes. Baltimore & London : John Hopkins University Press 515 pp.
Heinicke, M.P., Naylor, G.J.P. & Sedges, S.B. 2009. Cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes). pp. 320-327 in Hedges, S.B. & Kumar, S. (eds.). The Timetree of Life. Oxford : Oxford University Press 772 pp.
McEachran, J.D., Dunn, K.A. & Miyake, T. 1996. Interrelationships of the batoid fishes (Chrondrichthyes: Batoidea). pp. 63-84 in Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R. & Johnson, G.D. (eds). Interrelationships of Fishes. San Diego : Academic Press 496 pp.
McEachran, J.D. & Aschliman, N. 2004. Phylogeny of Batoidea. pp. 79-113 in Carrier, J.C., Musick, J.A. & Heithaus, M.R. (eds). Biology of Sharks and their Relatives. Boca Raton, Florida : CRC Press 596 pp.
Shirai, S. 1996. Phylogenetic interrelationships of neoselachians (Chondrichthyes, Euselachii). pp. 9-34 in Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R. & Johnson, G.D. (eds). Interrelationships of Fishes. San Diego : Academic Press 496 pp.
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