Elephantnose fish Gnathonemus petersii, copyright Joachim S. Müller.

Belongs within: Osteoglossocephalai.

The Osteoglossiformes, bonytongues and allies, are a group of tropical freshwater fishes in which the bite is between the toothed tongue and the toothed roof of the mouth, rather than between the dentaries and the upper jaw as in most other fishes. An extension of the parasphenoid provides a support for the entopterygoid, a pair of rod-like tendon bones is associated with the base of the second gill arch, and there is usually a soft connection between the gas bladder and ear (Bond 1996). The pirarucu Arapaima gigas of the Amazon River basin is one of the largest freshwater fishes, growing two metres or more in length.

    |  i. s.: Chandlerichthys strickeri G88
    |         Thaumaturus [Thaumaturidae] G88
    |         Kuntulunia [Huashiidae] P93
    |           `--K. longipterus Liu et al. 1982 P93
    |         Ostariostoma [Ostariostomidae] P93
    |           `--O. wilseyi Schaeffer 1949 P93
    |--Osteoglossoidei B96
    |    |--Arapaimidae [Heterotidinae] B-RB13
    |    |    |--Arapaima gigas NE12
    |    |    |--Heterotis niloticus GM01, NE12
    |    |    `--Laeliichthys ancestralis Silva Santos 1985 P93
    |    `--Osteoglossidae [Pantodontidae] P93
    |         |  i. s.: Pantodon buchholzi IM04
    |         |         Musperia P93
    |         |         Phareoides P93
    |         |         Brychaetus caheni Taverne 1969 P93
    |         |         Osteoglossidarum P93
    |         |           |--O. deccanensis Rana 1988 P93
    |         |           `--O. intertrappus Rana 1988 P93
    |         |--Phareodontinae GM01
    |         |    |--Phareodus P93
    |         |    `--Phaerodusichthys Gayet 1991 GM01
    |         |         `--P. taverni Gayet 1991 GM01
    |         `--Osteoglossinae GM01
    |              |--Osteoglossum IM04
    |              |    |--O. bicirrhosum IM04
    |              |    `--O. ferreirai B96
    |              `--Scleropages B96
    |                   |--S. formosus B96
    |                   |--S. jardini B96
    |                   `--S. leichardtii Günther 1864 M58
    |                        |--S. l. leichardtii [incl. S. l. jardinii Whitley 1943] M58
    |                        `--S. l. guntheri G75
    `--+--+--Palaeonotopterus greenwoodi NE12
       |  `--Notopteridae [Notopteroidea] B96
       |       |--Xenomystus nigri NE12
       |       |--Papyrocranus B96
       |       |--Notopteridarum nolfi Rana 1988 P93
       |       |--Notopterus IM04
       |       |    |--N. chitala IM04
       |       |    `--N. notopterus (Pallas 1769) [incl. N. primaevus Günther 1876] P93
       |       `--Chitala B96
       |            |--C. chitala NE12
       |            `--C. ornata NE12
       `--Mormyroidea B96
            |--Gymnarchus NE12 [Gymnarchidae B96]
            |    `--G. niloticus NE12
            `--Mormyridae [Mormyriformes] B96
                 |--Hyperopisus P93
                 |--Mormyrops B50
                 |--Petrocephalus B50
                 |--Marcusenius CS77
                 |    |--M. discorhyncus CS77
                 |    |--M. nigricans B50
                 |    `--M. strappersii CS77
                 |--Mormyrus Linnaeus 1758 L58
                 |    |--M. anguilloides Linnaeus 1758 L58
                 |    |--M. cyprinoides Linnaeus 1758 L58
                 |    `--M. kannume G74
                 `--Gnathonemus B96
                      |--G. abadii Boulenger 1901 B01
                      |--G. greshoffi B01
                      |--G. macrolepidotus CS77
                      |--G. monteiri CS77
                      |--G. petersii NE12
                      `--G. ussheri B01

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B-RB13] Betancur-R., R., R. E. Broughton, E. O. Wiley, K. Carpenter, A. López, C. Li, N. I. Holcroft, D. Arcila, M. Sanciangco, J. C. Cureton, II, F. Zhang, T. Buser, M. A. Campbell, J. A. Ballesteros, A. Roa-Varon, S. Willis, W. C. Borden, T. Rowley, P. C. Reneau, D. J. Hough, G. Lu, T. Grande, G. Arratia & G. Ortí. 2013. The tree of life and a new classification of bony fishes. PLoS Currents Tree of Life April 18 2013. doi: 10.1371/currents.tol.53ba26640df0ccaee75bb165c8c26288.

[B96] Bond, C. E. 1996. Biology of Fishes 2nd ed. Saunders College Publishing: Fort Worth.

[B01] Boulenger, G. A. 1901. Descriptions of four new African freshwater fishes. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 80–82.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[GM01] Gayet, M., L. G. Marshall, T. Sempere, F. J. Meunier, H. Cappetta & J-C. Rage. 2001. Middle Maastrichtian vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, dinosaurs and other reptiles, mammals) from Pajcha Pata (Bolivia). Biostratigraphic, palaeoecologic and palaeobiostratigraphic implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 169: 39–68.

[G75] Grant, E. M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. The Co-ordinator-General’s Department: Brisbane (Australia).

[G88] Gray, J. 1988. Evolution of the freshwater ecosystem: the fossil record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 62: 1–214.

[G74] Greenwood, P. H. 1974. The cichlid fishes of Lake Vistoria, East Africa: the biology and evolution of a species flock. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History): Zoology Suppl. 6: 1–134.

[IM04] Inoue, J. G., M. Miya, K. Tsukamoto & M. Nishida. 2004. Mitogenomic evidence for the monophyly of elopomorph fishes (Teleostei) and the evolutionary origin of the leptocephalus larva. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 274–286.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[M58] Munro, I. S. R. 1958. The fishes of the New Guinea region: a check-list of the fishes of New Guinea incorporating records of species collected by the Fisheries Survey Vessel “Fairwind” during the years 1948 to 1950. Papua and New Guinea Agricultural Journal 10 (4): 97–369 (reprinted 1958. Territory of Papua and New Guinea Fisheries Bulletin no. 1).

[NE12] Near, T. J., R. I. Eytan, A. Dornburg, K. L. Kuhn, J. A. Moore, M. P. Davis, P. C. Wainwright, M. Friedman & W. L. Smith. 2012. Resolution of ray-finned fish phylogeny and timing of diversification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109 (34): 13698–13703.

[P93] Patterson, C. 1993. Osteichthyes: Teleostei. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 621–656. Chapman & Hall: London.

Last updated: 9 February 2022.

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