The Pempheridae belong to the Perciformes and are diagnosed by the presence of a short premedian dorsal fin and a long anal fin, laterally upturned and centrally broadly united exoccipital condyles, and two foramina between the cleithrum and coracoid. Two genera, Parapriacanthus and Pempheris, belong to the family Pempheridae. The genus Parapriacanthus is phyletically closely related to Pempheris, and several species of Pempheris possess transitional characters between Parapriacanthus and other species of Pempheris. The genus Pempheris is subdivided into the analis-, japonica-, multiradiata-, poeyi-, mexicana-, sasakii-, and mobutea-groups. A high variability in the characters of the air bladder, subocular shelf, shoulder girdle, scales, hypurals, abdominal vertebrae, caudalfin supporting elements, etc., exists in the single family. The predorsal rayless pterygiophores of Pempheris poeyi are segmented. The Kurtidae have characteristics intermediate between those of the Beryciformes and those of the Perciformes. The possibility is suggested that the evolution of the Perciformes from the Beryciformes occurred in the forms with the single short dorsal fin. In the Perciformes, the serranid genera, Acropoma, Doederleinia, Synagrops, Neoscombrops, and Malakichthys, and the families Sciaenidae and Apogonidae share more characteristics with the Pempheridae than do the Priacanthidae, Scorpididae, Kyphosidae, Labracoglossidae, and Kuhliidae. The Bathyclupeidae, Leptobramidae, and the genus Schuettea possess no particular affinity with the Pempheridae.