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Chapter 13: Primative Fishes... Polypteriformes Primitive Traits Ganoid Scales Lung-like gas bladder –gulp air & survive in low O 2 Spiracle Spiral Valve Heterocercal Tail Unique Traits “Lobed” Fins – coelocanths or lungfishes Dorsal fins – 5 – 18 separate dorsal fins

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  • Primitive Traits
    • Ganoid Scales
    • Lung-like gas bladder –gulp air &survive in low O2
    • Spiracle
    • Spiral Valve
    • Heterocercal Tail
  • Unique Traits
    • “Lobed” Fins – coelocanths or lungfishes
    • Dorsal fins – 5 – 18 separate dorsal fins
    • Restricted to Africa; aquarium fish; “birchirs”
  • Cartilaginous skeletons lacking vertebral centra
  • Strongly heterocercal tail
  • Anus and urogenital openings at base of pelvic fins
  • Spiracle present in some species
  • Conus arteriosus with multiple valves
  • Spiral valve present in intestine


  • Sturgeons:
    • Bony scutes
    • Sensory barbels
    • Mostly freshwater —few marine and anadromous
    • Prized for eggs = cavier
    • Caspian and Black Seas of western Asia
    • Stock collapsing (Asian)
    • Shovelnose sturgeon and pallid sturgeon
    • Very fecund; mature at a late age


  • Paddlefish:
    • Lack bony scutes; long rostrum
    • 2 genera : American (Polyodonspathula)

Chinese Paddlefish (Psepherusgladius)

    • American: “Spoonbill cat”
    • Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers
    • Planktivore; Long, narrow gill rakers
    • Up to 2m in length; 75 kg
    • Rostrum: electrosensory function?

-- rooting through sediment?



  • Paddlefish:
    • Chinese(Psepherusgladius):
    • Yangtze River system
    • Smaller rostrum
    • Presumed piscivorous
    • Danger of extinction:
      • Dam construction
      • overfishing
semionotiformes gars
Semionotiformes: Gars
  • Thick ganoid scales
  • Bony head and snout
  • Long jaws with strong sharp teeth
  • Spiral valve intestine
  • Gas bladder divided internally
  • Dorsal an anal fins set far back on body

Semionotiformes: Gars

  • Primitive predators
  • N. America
  • 1 species in Cuba
  • All but one freshwater
    • Alligator gar occasionally enters SW
  • Gas bladder divided internally
  • Dorsal an anal fins set far back on body
order ammiiformes
Order Ammiiformes
  • One species, the bowfin (Amia calva)
  • Heterocercal tail
  • Rudimentary spiral valve intestine
  • Cycloid scales
  • Physostomous gas bladder

Order Ammiformes

  • Bowfin:
    • Predatory species
    • Sucks prey into its mouth (canine teeth)
    • Swims via undulations of long dorsal fin
    • Gulping air for surviving low O2 waters
    • Males build and defend nests
    • Defends young until

they are 10 cm long

    • Edible? …depends!
division teleostei
Division Teleostei
  • Cycloid or ctenoid scales (when present)
  • Lack of spiral valve intestine
  • three or four lower jaw bones per side

Division Teleostei

  • Divided into 4 groups:
  • Osteoglossomorpha – bonytongues, mooneyes
  • Elopomorpha – tarpons and eels
  • Clupeomorpha – herrings
  • Euteleostei – everything else

Subdivision Osteoglossomorpha

  • Mostly tropical species of Africa, Asia, and South America
  • Have enhanced electrosensory abilities
  • Some used as food
  • Mostly aquarium species
  • Examples:
  • Arrowannas – popular aquarium fish
  • Mooneye – herring-like fish from the Great Lakes Region. Some value as sport and food fish
subdivision elopomorpha
Subdivision Elopomorpha
  • Characterized by leptocephalus larva
    • Long and laterally compressed
    • Evidence of phylogenetic affinity with eels
  • Order Elopiformes
  • Order Anguiliformes
    • Suborder Anguilloidei
    • Suborder Muranoidei
    • Suborder Congroidei
  • Order Saccopharyngiformes


  • O. Elopiformes – tarpon, bonefish, ladyfish
    • important recreational species
    • No market for meat
    • Sought for large size and active fighting habits


  • Order Anguilliformes – eels
    • 20 families of eels
    • Elongated bodies with large number of vertebrae
    • Pectoral fins reduced in size
    • Pelvic fins absent
    • Scales: reduced in size or absent


  • Suborder Anguilloidei
    • American, European and Japanese eels (Anguilla)
    • Catadromous – spawn in SW, mature in FW
      • American and European eels:
        • Spawn in deep waters in central N. Atlantic
        • Leptocephali drift with current
        • Transform into threadlike elvers
        • Ascend rivers and spend several years there maturing


  • Suborder Muraenoidei
    • Moray eels of tropical oceans
    • Lack pectoral fins
    • Some have venomous bite


  • Suborder Congroidei
    • Large group of marine eels
    • Some used for food


  • Order Saccopharyngiformes – eels
    • Group of bizarre deep-sea fishes
    • Includes:
      • Gulper eels
      • Snipe eels

Subdivision Clupeomorpha

  • Herrings and anchovies
  • Important food fishes
  • Silvery, compressiform fishes
  • Large silvery scales
subdivision clupeomorpha
Subdivision Clupeomorpha
  • Soft rays only
  • Large easily shed cycloid scales
  • Bony scutes on ventral and sometimes dorsal surfaces
  • Gas bladder extends anterior into the skull (otophystic)
    • Helps transmit low frequency sounds to the ear


  • Order Clupeiformes
  • Mostly marine planktivores
    • - some freshwater, anadromous, and predatory forms
  • Extremely high biomass
  • Important role in food chain
    • - gizzard and threadfin shad typicallystocked as a forage base for pike and largemouth bass,

Order Clupeiformes

  • Large scale fisheries exist for marine species
  • Some consumed by humans
  • Used in animal feeds and fertilizers
  • Population dependent on plankton abundance which is dictated by ocean circulation
    • Upwelling of cold nutrient rich water
  • Nutrients phytoplankton bloom zooplankton anchovies
  • El Niño


  • Encompasses all remaining fish
  • Large assemblage of fishes
  • Possess more advanced characteristics

Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Possess “Webberian Apparatus”
    • - modified anterior vertebrae and special bony connections between gas bladder and ear
  • Contains:
    • - minnows
    • - suckers
    • - tetras
    • - catfishes
euteleostei superorder ostariophysi
Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi
  • Order Gonorhynchiformes
  • Order Cypriniformes
    • Family Cyprinidae
    • Family Catastomidae
  • Order Characiformes
  • Order Siluriformes
  • Order Gymnotiformes

Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Order Gonorhynchiformes
    • milkfish (Chanos chanos)
    • Important aquaculture species in SE Asia
    • Raised in earthen ponds
    • Important source of animal protein

Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Order Cypriniformes:
    • Family Cyprinidae:

- Jaw Teeth Absent

- Adipose Fin Absent

- Barbels Present


- N. America and

- Base forage


Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Order Cypriniformes:
    • Family Cyprinidae:
    • Grass Carp:
      • Introduced species
      • Herbivore
      • Eradicates vegetation
      • Illegal to stock or sell diploids
      • Triploids acceptable

Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Order Cypriniformes:
    • Family Catastomidae:
    • suckers
      • Fleshy protrusible lips
      • White and spotted suckers
      • Buffalo fishes
      • Redhorses
      • Quillbacks
      • carpsuckers

Euteleostei: Superorder Ostariophysi

  • Order Characiformes:

- Jaw Teeth Present

- Adipose Fin Present

- Barbels Absent

America, and Africa

- S. America, C.



  • Lack Scales, often with bony plates on head or body
  • Teeth present on premaxillary, absent on maxillary
  • Many have venomous “spines” composed of fused soft rays
  • - venom gland at base of spine
  • Well developed sensory barbels
  • Usually an adipose fin
  • Found on all continents except Antartica
  • Some marine (gafftop and sea catfish)
  • Greatest diversity in S. America
  • Important food source
  • Important game and aquarium fishes


  • Unusual electrical fishes
  • South and Central America
  • Elongated bodies and small eyes
  • Sometimes called S. American knifefishes
  • Modified muscle tissue for production of electrical fields
  • Electric eel (produce more than 500 volts)
class osteichthyes infradivision euteleostei


Class Osteichthyes Infradivision: Euteleostei

Minnows, Characins, and Catfishes

True teleosts

suberorder ostariophysi

Suberorder: Ostariophysi

6500 species

Dominant freshwater fishes

Some of most important aquaculture species

suberorder ostariophysi49
Suberorder: Ostariophysi

Six Characteristics of group

  • Have fright substance (Schreckstoff) released into water when fish is injured
  • Swimbladder is present and usually has two chambers
  • Unculi present: small unicellular projections on body that may provide rough surface for clinging or scraping
  • Breeding tubercles well developed
  • Upper jaw (premaxilla) easily extended for suction feeding
  • Pelvic fins abdominal in position
order gonorynchiformes
Order: Gonorynchiformes
  • Toothless mouths
  • Epibranchial organs (modified gill rakers for breaking up ingested food
family chanidae
Family Chanidae


  • Marine and brackish water species
  • One of most important food fishes of Southeast Asia
  • Adults to 1.8 m
  • Silvery sides
  • Deeply forked tails
order cypriniformes
Order Cypriniformes
  • Dominate freshwter fishes of North America and Eurasia
  • 2700 species
  • Most possess protractile mouths without teeth
  • Most posses pharyngeal teeth
  • Heads lack scales (with few exceptions)
  • All lack adipose fins
family cyprinidae minnow or carp family
Family CyprinidaeMinnow or Carp family

Largest family of fishes


  • Minnows
  • Danios
  • Rasabora
  • Barbs
  • Goldfish
  • Koi
  • Loaches
  • Ornamental sharks
  • carps
  • Largest family of fishes
  • More than 2,000 species
  • The Cyprinidae are scattered throughout most of the world, and include cold water types as well as those of tropical waters.
  • Members distinguished by their pharyngeal teeth
  • Most have soft fin rays; however, modified into spines in common carp and goldfish

Sailfin shiner

Notropis hypselopterus

notropis signipinnis
Notropis signipinnis

Flagfin shiner

notropis maculatus
Notropis maculatus

Taillight shiner

cyprinella venusta
Cyprinella venusta

Blacktail shiner

goldfish carassius auratus auratus

GoldfishCarassius auratus auratus

Central Asia and China

common carp cyprinus carpio carpio

Common carpCyprinus carpio carpio

Throughout Europe and Asia

grass carp ctenopharyngodon idella

Grass carpCtenopharyngodon idella

Asis, former USSR, China

silver carp hypophthalmichthys molitrix

Silver carpHypophthalmichthys molitrix

Asia, China, and eastern Siberia

family catastomidae suckers

Family CatastomidaeSuckers

Mainly North American

68 species

Most live in streams

Mostly bottom browsers with subterminal mouths

family cobitidae loaches botia

Family CobitidaeLoaches, Botia

Found mostly in streams of Eurasia

160 species

Popular aquarium fishes

All have subterminal mouths

order characiformes

Order Characiformes

Mexico, Central and South America; 1,350 species

Africa; 200 species

In South America charicins (and catfish) totally dominate fish fauna

Presently 18 families, but will change

Most are diurnal predators with large eyes

No eyes in some cave dwellers

african characins

African Characins

Four families

More than 200 species

Some have specialized jaws for snipping off shunks of fins of other fishes

Include African tetras (Alestidae), formally in Characidae - same family as S. American tetras. These are sold in the aquarium trade

Most notable Alestidae are African tigerfishes

hydrocynus goliath giant tigerfish

Hydrocynus goliathGiant tigerfish

Congo River basin, Lualaba River, Lake Upemba, and Lake Tanganyika



South and Central America

Approximately 700 species

One species in N. America

All have good sets of jaw teeth

Variety of feeding habits found

Some species feed largely on scales of other fishes

serrasalmus manueli

Serrasalmus manueli

Amazon Basin Orinoco Basin

colossoma macropomum tambaqui

Colossoma macropomumTambaqui

Amazon and Orinoco Basins



Lie and wait predators; Brazil

ctenoluciidae pike characids

Lie and wait predator: S. America



Brazil, northern

S. America

anostomidae headstanders


Herbivores or detritivores; S. America

siluriformes catfishes


Active after dark

2400 species

1- 4 pairs of barbels

Adipose fin

No scales but may have armored plates

Spines on forward edge of pectoral and dorsal fins

Pectoral spines lock out

Have Weberian apparatus

  • Moderately deep bodied (flattened ventrally
  • Protected with bony plates and spines
  • Often live in stagnant water
  • Able to swallow air and absorb in highly vascularized portion of hind gut
  • Found in S. America and Panama
doradidae thorny catfishes
DoradidaeThorny catfishes
  • Found in South America
siluridae glass catfish and sheatfishes

SiluridaeGlass catfish and sheatfishes

Ghost Catfish

Kryptopterus minor; SE Asia

family loricariidae armored catfishes

Family LoricariidaeArmored catfishes

Also called suckermouth catfishes

Adapted for acraping or sucking algae from bottom in streams

Mouths adapted for holding onto rocks in fast water

Found in Costa Rica, Panama, and South America

ariidae hardhead and gafftopsail catfish
AriidaeHardhead and gafftopsail catfish
  • Feed on benthic inverts
  • Noisy schools created by clicking of pectoral spines and vibration of swimbladder
  • Males incubate eggs in mouth
  • Primarily marine
  • Walking catfish
  • Air breathing
  • “Walk” using pectoral fins and swinging from side to side
  • Clarius Batrachus (Asia) has become pest in Florida
ictaluridae north american catfishes
IctaluridaeNorth American catfishes
  • Scaleless
  • Usually dark in color
  • Large flattened heads
  • 8 barbels
  • High degree of parental care; build nests and guard eggs and young
  • Channel catfish #1 aquaculture foodfish in United States
shark catfishes pangasiidae

Shark catfishesPangasiidae

Endemic to Mekong Basin

Rare because of overexploitation

aquaculture species

giant catfish pangasianodon gigas

Giant catfishPangasianodon gigas

Max. recorded weight, 350kg

chapter 19 smelt salmon and pike

CHAPTER 19Smelt, Salmon, and Pike

Class – Osteichthyes

Subclass – Actinopterygii

Subdivision – Teleostei

Infradivision – Euteleostei

Superorder - Protacanthopterygii

superorder protacanthopterygii
Superorder Protacanthopterygii
  • This group supposed to contain the presumed ancestors to the spiny-rayed fishes (Acanthopterygii) that dominate the world’s oceans
  • Contains 310 species in 3 orders
  • Lack spines
  • Many have adipose fins
  • Species in fresh and marine environments
order argentiniformes
Order Argentiniformes
  • Contains more than 160 species from 7 families
  • All small fishes with large eyes
  • Live in deep sea environments
  • All possess and epibranchial organ (crumenal) for grinding up small prey.
  • Organ consists of small pouch just behind fourth gill arch
order argentiniformes con t
Order Argentiniformes (con’t)
  • Gill rakers on both sides fit into pouch where they interdigitate to break up food particles
family argentinidae
Family argentinidae
  • Herring smelts
  • Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific
  • Deep sea smelts
microstomatidae curious wormfish gunnellichthys curiosus

Curious wormfishGunnellichthys curiosus

order salmoniformes
Order Salmoniformes
  • Smelts and salmonids
  • Mostly cold water
  • Most can easily move between fresh and salt water
  • Smelts and salmonids distantly related
suborder osmeroidei
Suborder Osmeroidei
  • Small elongate fishes
  • Prey on small invertebrates
  • Frequently found in large numbers
  • Favored food fishes
  • Include:
    • Northern smelts
    • Noodlefishes
    • Southern smelts
northern smelts
Northern smelts
  • Includes Osmeridae (true smelts)
  • Approximately only 13 species
  • Generally small (< 20cm)
  • However, can be enormously abundant in coastal areas of northern hemisphere
  • All are excellent food
  • They eat zooplankton and small fish
salangidae noodlefishes or icefishes
Salangidaenoodlefishes or icefishes
  • 11 species
  • Abundant
  • Important fisheries
  • Found in Japan, China, Southeast Asia
  • Elongate, scaleless, and nearly transparent because of poorly ossified skeleton
southern smelts
Southern smelts
  • Coastal and fresh waters of Australia and New Zealand
  • Small, trout-like fishes
  • Include
    • Galaxiidae
    • Retropinnidae
    • Lepidogalixiidae
  • Occur in freshwater on all the southern continents except Antartica
  • Distribution can be explained by plate tectonics or planktonic , marine larvae
retropinnidae new zealand smelts

RetropinnidaeNew Zealand smelts


Retropinna retropinna

New Zealand

lepidogalaxiidae salamander fishes
Lepidogalaxiidaesalamander fishes


Lepidogalaxias salamandroides

Only found in southwest corner of Australia in pools and streams

suborder salmonoidei
Suborder Salmonoidei
  • One family: Salmonidae
  • Approximately 70 species
  • Dominant fishes of cold-water streams and lakes of North America and Eurasia
  • Most species anadromous
  • Three subfamilies
    • Salmon and trout
    • Graylings
    • Whitefishes
salmon and trout

Salmon and trout

Coho salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

salmon and trout146
Salmon and trout

Chinook salmon

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

salmon and trout147
Salmon and trout

Sockeye salmon

Oncorhynchus nerka

salmon and trout148
Salmon and trout

Atlantic salmon

Salmo salar

salmon and trout149
Salmon and trout

Brown trout

Salmo trutta fario

salmon and trout150
Salmon and trout

Brook trout

Salvelinus fontinalis


Arctic grayling

Thymallus arcticus arcticus


Common whitefish

Coregonus lavaretus

order esociformes
Order Esociformes
  • 10 species
  • All freshwater
  • Widespreadin North America and northern Eurasia
  • Lie and wait predators
  • 2 families
    • Esocidae (pikes) can be large
    • Umbridae (mudminnows) generally small
esocidae pikes 5 species
Esocidae(pikes; 5 species)

Northeren pike

Esox lucius



Chain pickerel

Esox niger



Esox masquinongy

umbridae mudminnows 5 species
Umbridae (Mudminnows; 5 species)

Central mudminnow

Umbra limi