The order Batrachoidiformes contains a single family, the Batrachoididae, with about 70 species found in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.
These well-camouflaged ambush predators generally live on sandy and muddy bottoms in tropical and temperate environments. Most species live in shallow coastal waters, although some are found on the outer continental shelf.
Toadfishes have broad flattened heads, prominent eyes and fleshy barbels and flaps, often fringing the wide fleshy mouth. They also have pelvic fins far forward and two dorsal fins - the first a series of short, sharp spines followed by a long-based soft dorsal fin.
Members of one subfamily are bioluminsecent and have rows of photophores along their sides. Others have venomous spines and are capable of inflicting painful wounds.
Relationships of the order are discussed in Patterson & Rosen (1989) and Miya et al. (2005).
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