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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis/Classis: Actinopterygii
Classis/Subclassis: Actinopteri
Subclassis/Infraclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Megacohors: Osteoglossocephalai
Supercohort: Osteoglossocephala
Cohort/Superordo: Osteoglossomorpha
Ordo: Osteoglossiformes
Subordines: Notopteroidei – Osteoglossoidei

Familiae (7): Arapaimidae - Gymnarchidae - Mormyridae - Notopteridae - Osteoglossidae - Pantodontidae - †Ostariostomidae

Genus inc. sedis: †Ostariostoma – †Wilsonichthys


Lavoué, S. 2016. Was Gondwanan breakup the cause of the intercontinental distribution of Osteoglossiformes? A time-calibrated phylogenetic test combining molecular, morphological, and paleontological evidence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, available online 12 March 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.03.008 Reference page.


Osteoglossiformes in FishBase,
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds.) 2022. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication,, version 08/2021.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Knochenzünglerartige
magyar: Csontosnyelvűhal-alakúak
日本語: アロアナ目
Nederlands: Beentongvissen
português: Cantarelo azul
svenska: Bentungeartade fiskar
ไทย: อันดับปลาลิ้นกระดูก
中文: 骨舌鱼目

Osteoglossiformes /ˌɒstiːoʊˈɡlɒsɪfɔːrmiːz/ (Greek: "bony tongues") is a relatively primitive order of ray-finned fish that contains two sub-orders, the Osteoglossoidei and the Notopteroidei. All of at least 245 living species inhabit freshwater. They are found in South America, Africa, Australia and southern Asia, having first evolved in Gondwana before that continent broke up.[2] In 2008 several new species of marine osteoglossiforms was described from the Danish Eocene Fur Formation dramatically increases the diversity of this group. This implies that the Osteoglossomorpha is not a primary freshwater fish group with the osteoglossiforms having a typical Gondwana distribution. [3]

The Gymnarchidae (the only species being Gymnarchus niloticus, the African knifefish[4]) and the Mormyridae[5] are weakly electric fish able to sense their prey using electric fields.

The mooneyes (Hiodontidae) are often classified here, but may also be placed in a separate order, Hiodontiformes.

Members of the order are notable for having toothed or bony tongues, and for having the forward part of the gastrointestinal tract pass to the left of the oesophagus and stomach (for all other fish it passes to the right). In other respects, osteoglossiform fishes vary considerably in size and form; the smallest is Pollimyrus castelnaui, at just 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long, while the largest, the arapaima (Arapaima gigas), reaches as much as 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).[2]

Phylogeny based on the following works:[6][7][8]











Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Osteoglossiformes" in FishBase. January 2009 version.
Greenwood, P.H. & Wilson, M.V. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 81–84. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
Bonde, N., 2008: Osteoglossomorphs of the marine Lower Eocene of Denmark – with remarks on other Eocene taxa and their importance for palaeobiogeography. Geological Society, London, Special Publications; 2008; v. 295; p. 253-310
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2014). "Gymnarchus niloticus" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
Greenwood, P.H. & Wilson, M.V. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
Betancur-Rodriguez, R.; et al. (2016). "Phylogenetic Classification of Bony Fishes Version 4". Deepfin. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
Lavoué, S., Sullivan J. P., & Hopkins C. D. (2003): Phylogenetic utility of the first two introns of the S7 ribosomal protein gene in African electric fishes (Mormyroidea: Teleostei) and congruence with other molecular markers. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 78, 273-292. PDF Archived 2014-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
Sullivan, J. P., Lavoué S., & Hopkins C. D. (2000): Molecular systematics of the African electric fishes (Mormyroidea: Teleostei) and a model for the evolution of their electric organs. Journal of Experimental Biology. 203, 665-683. PDF Archived 2014-10-30 at the Wayback Machine

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