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Temporal range: Late Jurassic–Recent
Amiopsis (Late Jurassic, Germany)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Clade: Halecomorphi
Order: Amiiformes
Superfamily: Amioidea
Family: Amiidae
Bonaparte, 1838

See text

The Amiidae are a family of basal ray-finned fishes. The bowfin and the eyespot bowfin (Amia ocellicauda) are the only two species to survive today, although additional species in all four subfamilies of Amiidae are known from Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene fossils.[1]

Bowfins are now found throughout eastern North America, typically in slow-moving backwaters, canals, and ox-bow lakes. When the oxygen level is low (as often happens in still waters), the bowfin can rise to the surface and gulp air into its swim bladder, which is lined with blood vessels and can serve as a primitive lung.

Cyclurus kehreri fossil

Amiidae is a monophyletic group that has numerous synapomorphic characters. Amiidae were widespread and particularly rich in species during the Eocene era. During this era, they appeared to be confined almost exclusively to fresh water.[clarification needed][1]


The family is divided into five subfamilies, with 16 genera[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c Grande, L.; Bemis, W.E. (1998). "A Comprehensive Phylogenetic Study of Amiid Fishes (Amiidae) Based on Comparative Skeletal Anatomy. An Empirical Search for Interconnected Patterns of Natural History". Memoir (Society of Vertebrate Paleontology). 4: 1–679. doi:10.2307/3889331. JSTOR 3889331.
  2. ^ a b Deesri, U.; Naksri, W.; Jintasakul, P.; Noda, Y.; Yukawa, H.; Hossny, T.E.; Cavin, L. A New Sinamiin Fish (Actinopterygii) from the Early Cretaceous of Thailand: Implications on the Evolutionary History of the Amiid Lineage. Diversity 2023, 15, 491.

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