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Teleost facts for kids

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Temporal range: Jurassic – Recent
F de Castelnau-poissonsPl12.jpg
Retroculus (Cichlidae); Hairy Blenny, Labrisomus; Ogcocephalus and Acanthurus
Scientific classification

Teleosts are the dominant fish of the present day. They arose in the Mesozoic era, and include 20,000 living species. The oldest teleost fossils date back to the late Triassic. They evolved from fish like bowfins in the clade Holostei. During the Mesozoic and Cainozoic they diversified. 96 percent of all known fish species are teleosts.

They are, in order of evolution, vertebrates, jawed fish (Gnathostomata), bony fish (Osteichthyes) and ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii).

Teleosts have a movable jaw and changes in the jaw muscles. These changes make it possible for them to protrude their jaws outwards from the mouth. This adaptation improves their ability to grab fast-moving prey.

Date of origin

The date of origin of the teleosts is a difficult problem. Two kinds of evidence are available. There is evidence from the fossil record, in which the first teleost comes from the late Triassic period.

This date is somewhat later than molecular divergence time estimates (molecular clock). A recent paper finds that fossil dates and molecular clock dates are similar to each other. These researchers atate:

"Divergence times estimated from relaxed-molecular clock analyses yield a comprehensive time-scale of actinopterygian diversification that is remarkably close to ages inferred from the fossil record".

Actinopterygii 400 mya

part of "Chondrostei" Thus the former "Chondrostei" is paraphyletic (not a clade), and has been broken up by more recent studies. Polypteridae (bichirs) Cuvier-105-Polyptère.jpg

part of "Chondrostei"

Acipenseriformes (sturgeons, paddlefish) Atlantic sturgeon flipped.jpg

Neopterygii 360 mya

Holostei (bowfins, gars) 275 mya Longnose gar flipped.jpg

Teleostei 210 mya Cyprinus carpio3.jpg


Actinistia (Coelacanths) Coelacanth flipped.png

Dipnoi (Lungfish) Barramunda coloured.jpg


Amphibians Deutschlands Amphibien und Reptilien (Salamandra salamdra).jpg


Mammals Phylogenetic tree of marsupials derived from retroposon data (Paucituberculata).png

Sauropsids (reptiles, birds) Description des reptiles nouveaux, ou, Imparfaitement connus de la collection du Muséum d'histoire naturelle et remarques sur la classification et les caractères des reptiles (1852) (Crocodylus moreletii).jpg

Evolution of ray-finned fish
Evolution of ray-finned fish

Teleost superorders


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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Teleostei para niños

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