Last updated: 20/01/2017 [Design & Pictures by Simons Nature]

Actinopterygii [Ray-finned fishes]

The ray-finned fishes are so called because they possess lepidotrichia or "fin rays", their fins being webs of skin supported by bony or horny spines ("rays"), as opposed to the fleshy, lobed fins that characterize the class Sarcopterygii which also, however, possess lepidotrichia. These actinopterygian fin rays attach directly to the proximal or basal skeletal elements, the radials, which represent the link or connection between these fins and the internal skeleton (e.g., pelvic and pectoral girdles).
An eel is any fish belonging to the order Anguilliformes, which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and about 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term "eel" (originally referring to the European eel) is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.
Perciformes, also called the Percomorphi or Acanthopteri, are the largest order of vertebrates, containing about 41% of all bony fish. Perciformes means "perch-like". They belong to the class of ray-finned fish, and comprise over 10,000 species found in almost all aquatic ecosystems. The order contains about 160 families, which is the most of any order within the vertebrates.
A flatfish is a member of the order Pleuronectiformes of ray-finned demersal fishes, also called the Heterosomata, sometimes classified as a suborder of Perciformes. In many species, both eyes lie on one side of the head, one or the other migrating through and around the head during development. Some species face their left sides upward, some face their right sides upward, and others face either side upward.
The Scorpaeniformes are a diverse order of ray-finned fish, but have also been called the Scleroparei. It is one of the five largest orders of bony fishes by number of species with over 1,320.
Catfish (or catfishes; order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the three largest species, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia, the wels catfish of Eurasia and the Piraíba of South America, to detritivores (species that eat dead material on the bottom), and even to a tiny parasitic species commonly called the candiru, Vandellia cirrhosa.
The Syngnathiformes are an order of ray-finned fishes that includes the pipefishes and seahorses. These fishes have elongated, narrow, bodies surrounded by a series of bony rings, and small, tubular mouths. Several groups live among seaweed and swim with their bodies aligned vertically, to blend in with the stems.
The Tetraodontiformes are an order of highly derived ray-finned fish, also called the Plectognathi. Sometimes these are classified as a suborder of the order Perciformes. The Tetraodontiformes are represented by 10 families and at least 349 species overall; most are marine and dwell in and around tropical coral reefs, but a few species are found in freshwater streams and estuaries. They have no close relatives, and descend from a line of coral-dwelling species that emerged around 40 million years ago.
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