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The taxonomic status of all the nominal genera of the Ariidae are reviewed and ariid genera are diagnosed by exclusive characters as well as by a combination of internal and external morphological features. The results are based on a phylogenetic analysis undertaken by the senior author (Marceniuk, 2003). The species so far recognized are taxonomically reevaluated and considered as valid, inquirendae or synonyms under each diagnosed genus based on direct examination of specimens or use of diagnostic characters available in the literature. A key to identification of genera is provided based on morphological characters that can be easily recognized. In the new classification proposed, Ariidae comprises the following twenty six valid genera: Amissidens, Arius, Aspistor, Bagre, Batrachocephalus, Brustiarius, Cathorops, Cephalocassis, Cinetodus, Cochlefelis, Cryptarius, Doiichthys, Galeichthys, Genidens, Hemiarius, Ketengus, Nedystoma, Nemapteryx, Neoarius, Netuma, Notarius, Osteogeneiosus, Pachyula, Plicofollis, Potamarius and Sciades. Three new genera are erected. The nominal genera Bagre Oken, 1817, Glanis, Stearopterus, Breviceps non Merrem, 1820, Felichthys, Ailurichthys, Mystus non Scopoli, 1777 and Anemanotus are considered junior synonyms of Bagre Cloquet, 1816. Hexanematichthys, Sciadeichthys, Selenaspis, Ariopsis and Leptarius are synonyms of Sciades. The nominal genus Pseudarius is an objective synonym, and Ariodes a subjective synonym, of Arius. Sciadeops is synonymous with Notarius. Catastoma and Sarcogenys are synonyms of Netuma. Tetranesodon is preliminary considered junior synonym of Pachyula. Hemipimelodus is a synonym of Cephalocassis. Septobranchus is a junior synonym of Cinetodus, and Guiritinga is a new synonym of Genidens.
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