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Temporal range: Jurassic – Recent
Retroculus (Cichlidae); Hairy Blenny, Labrisomus; Ogcocephalus and Acanthurus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei

Teleosts are the dominant fish of the present day. They arose in the Mesozoic era, and include 20,000 living species.

They are, in order of evolution, vertebrates, jawed fish (Gnathostomata), bony fish (Osteichthyes) and ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii).[1][2][3]

Teleosts have a movable jaw and changes in the jaw muscles. These changes make it possible for them to protrude their jaws outwards from the mouth.[4] This adaptation improves their ability to grab fast-moving prey.[5][6]

Date of origin

A single species of fish from the Jurassic, Pholidophorus bechii, is thought to be the sister-group of the 25,000-strong species of fossil and living teleosts.[7]

This is in opposition to the view that Pholidophorus was itself a teleost, and the group originated in the Triassic.[8]

Teleost Superorders



  1. R. Froese and D. Pauly (editors) (February 2006). "FishBase".
  2. Nelson, Joseph S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Wiley, N.Y. ISBN 0471250317.
  3. Helfman G. Collette B. & Facey D. 1997. The diversity of fishes. Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN 0-86542-256-7
  4. Ben Waggoner (1995-07-17). "Telostei". Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
  5. Video of a slingjaw wrasse catching prey by protruding its jaw
  6. Video of a red bay snook catching prey by suction feeding
  7. Kemp T.S. 1999. Fossils and evolution. Oxford University Press. p122 ISBN 0198504241
  8. Palmer D. (ed) 1999. The Marshall illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. London: Marshall Editions. p38 ISBN 1-84028-152-9