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:January 2021
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An order of ray-finned teleost fishes consisting of two monophyletic clades, the suborders Osteoglossoidei and Notopteroidei. The members of the order Osteoglossiformes belong to the class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) and are divided into the suborders Osteoglossoidei and Notopteroidei. Three extant families constitute the Osteoglossoidei: the Osteoglossidae (arowanas; Fig. 1), the Arapaimidae (bonytongues), and the Pantodontidae (freshwater butterflyfish). The members of these families occur in the freshwaters of tropical South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia to northern Australia. Similarly, three extant families constitute the Notopteroidei: the Notopteridae (Old World knifefishes and featherfin knifefishes, or featherbacks), the Mormyridae (elephantfishes; Fig. 2), and the Gymnarchidae (gymnarchid eel or aba). The featherbacks are native to central tropical Africa, India, and the Malay Archipelago. The elephantfish family, having a long proboscis-like snout in many species, is the most species-rich osteoglossiform taxon, but its members are limited to tropical Africa and the Nile River. The family Gymnarchidae is represented by a single species, Gymnarchus niloticus; it is found in tropical Africa, including the upper Nile River. See also: Actinopterygii; Osteichthyes; Teleostei
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