Bailey, Reeve M. Division of Fishes, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Boschung, Herbert T. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Last reviewed:August 2015
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An order of actinopterygian (ray-finned) fishes, including the anchovies, herrings, and sardines. The order Clupeiformes is the sole order of teleost fishes in the subdivision Clupeomorpha. Clupeiform fishes, including anchovies, herrings, sardines, shads, and allies, are classified in 2 suborders (Clupeoidei and Denticipitoidei), 5 to 7 families, approximately 90 genera, and more than 400 species. A unique feature of clupeiforms is the ear–swim bladder connection (otophysic connection) composed of a pair of anterior extensions of the swim bladder that enter the skull to connect with the utriculus of the inner ear. Clupeiforms are further distinguished by a series of median scutes (keel-like scales) along the abdomen before and behind the pelvic fins (some species have predorsal scutes as well as ventral scutes), and a single scute is present at the insertion of the pelvic fins. The body is compressed in most species; fin spines are lacking, as are an adipose fin and gular plate; the jaws are not protractile; the pelvic fins are abdominal in position and free from the shoulder girdle; the pectoral fin is placed low on the side; a mesocoracoid arch is present; the upper jaw is bordered by premaxillae and maxillae, but the dentition is usually feeble; the cycloid scales are usually thin and loosely attached, especially in anchovies; the air bladder is connected to the gut (physostomous); and there is no leptocephalus larva. See also: Actinopterygii; Herrings; Osteichthyes; Scale (zoology); Swim bladder; Teleostei
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