Abstract For 175 years, an unremarkable bass, the Grape-eye Seabass (Hemilutjanus macrophthalmos), has been known from coastal waters in the Eastern Pacific. To date, its phylogenetic placement and classification have been ignored. A preliminary osteological examination of Hemilutjanus hinted that it may have affinities with the Acropomatiformes. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis using UCE and Sanger sequence data to study the placement of Hemilutjanus and the limits and relationships of the Acropomatiformes. We show that Hemilutjanus is a malakichthyid, and our results corroborate earlier studies that have resolved a polyphyletic Polyprionidae; accordingly, we describe Stereolepididae, new family, for Stereolepis. With these revisions, the Acropomatiformes is now composed of the: Acropomatidae; Banjosidae; Bathyclupeidae; Champsodontidae; Creediidae; Dinolestidae; Epigonidae; Glaucosomatidae; Hemerocoetidae; Howellidae; Lateolabracidae; Malakichthyidae; Ostracoberycidae; Pempheridae; Pentacerotidae; Polyprionidae; Scombropidae; Stereolepididae, new family; Symphysanodontidae; Synagropidae; and Schuettea. Finally, using our new hypothesis, we demonstrate that acropomatiforms repeatedly evolved bioluminescence and transitioned between shallow waters and the deep sea.