If you’ve ever eaten a fish fillet, you’ve probably had the ‘pleasure’ of picking out fish bones from your meal. While most fish are, indeed, bony (superclass: Osteichthyes), certain lineages of fish have cartilaginous skeletons, meaning that their skeletal structure is composed of cartilage, like a human ear or nose, rather than bone. Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, … [Read more…]
Phylogeny is the representation of evolutionary relationships, often displayed as a “tree” (i.e., branching diagram) where the most closely related organisms are connected by a node and more distantly related organisms have multiple steps back in the tree before they are connected. Nodes are often characterized by biogeographic events and evolutionary innovations. In fishes, jawless … [Read more…]
Ampullae of Lorenzini are a network of electroreceptors, sensory organs that detect electric fields in water, found in chondrichthyes (sharks, rays, and chimaeras). The ampullae are a series of symmetrical pores, concentrated around the snout and nose, connected by gel-filled canals. They can conduct electrical impulses so small, that chondrichthyes are likely to be more sensitive … [Read more…]
Elasmobranchs, including sharks, rays, and sawfishes, belong to the taxonomic subclass of cartilaginous fish Elasmobranchii. Like most chondrichthyes, they have exposed gills, no swim bladder, internal fertilization, and placoid denticles. They differ from the other subclass, chimaera (subclass: Holocephali), in that they have rigid dorsal fins, placoid denticles cover most of their bodies, and they … [Read more…]
Osteichthyes are a taxonomic grouping of bony fishes. This group includes ray-finned fishes (class: Actinopterygii) and lobe-finned fishes (class: Sarcopterygii). This highly diverse group of fishes, which contains almost all fish species, is the most diverse group of vertebrates today. Osteichthyes differ from chondrichthyes by (in most cases) possessing a bony skeleton, a swim bladder, … [Read more…]
Chondrichthyes are a taxonomic class of cartilaginous fishes that encompass sharks and rays (elasmobranchs) and chimaera. Though there are exceptions, in general, Chondrichthyes have exposed gills, no swim bladder, internal fertilization, and placoid denticles. These characteristics differentiate them from the more evolutionarily derived branch of fishes, bony fish (Osteichthyes).
Placoid denticles are found on sharks, rays, and chimaeras. Not really a true “scale,” like ctenoid or cycloid scales, placoid denticles are actually modified teeth. They have an inner tissue component, which contains both blood vessels and nerves, that is covered by a layer of dentin and an outer enamel. They form a tough protective skin … [Read more…]