The Stomiiformes order contains 5 families, 53 genera and about 391 species (Nelson 2006).

The genus Malacosteus is considered to be part of a small group which makes up the most derived clade within the Stomiiformes (Fink 1985). 

The group contains:

  • Malacosteus
  • Photostomias
  • Pachystomias
  • Aristostomias

This means that these 4 genera - containing 16 species - appeared most recently in the evolutionary timescale. 

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