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Temporal range: Kimmeridgian–0
Late Jurassic to Recent[1]
Albula vulpes
Pterothrissus gissu
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Superorder: Elopomorpha
Order: Albuliformes
Greenwood, 1977
Family: Albulidae
Bleeker, 1859
Type species
Albula vulpes
  • Albulae Bleeker 1849
  • Butirini Bleeker 1851
  • Lemniscati Poey 1867
  • Bathythrissidae Günther 1877
  • Pterothrissidae Gill 1893
  • Conorhynchidae Gill 1861

Albulidae is a family of fish, commonly known as the bonefishes, that are popular as game fish in Florida, select locations in the South Pacific and the Bahamas (where two bonefish are featured on the 10-cent coin) and elsewhere. The family is small, with 11 species in 3 genera.[2] Presently, the bonefishes are in their own order: Albuliformes /ˈælbjəlɪfɔːrmz/. The families Halosauridae and Notacanthidae were previously classified in this order,[5] but are now, according to FishBase, given their own order Notacanthiformes.[6] The largest bonefish caught in the Western Hemisphere is a 16-pound, 3 ounce example caught off Islamorada, Florida, on March 19, 2007.[7]



The bonefishes' closest relatives are the tarpons and ladyfishes in the order Elopiformes. Bonefishes are unlike tarpons in that their mouths are under the snout rather than the end of it. Like tarpons and ladyfishes, bonefishes can breathe air via a modified swim bladder and are found in brackish waters. Bonefish larvae are leptocephalic.

The slender body of the bonefish is silver, with a blue to green tinted back. On the upper half of the body there are dark streaks with cross bands connecting to the lateral line. The body is rounded with a long, slightly downturned snout. The dorsal and caudal fins are black. Bonefish vary in adult length from 40–100 cm depending on species. The average size of a bonefish is from 3 to 5 pounds (1–2 kg) with the Florida record being 16 pounds 3 oz (7.34 kg).[7]

The bonefishes are brackish or saltwater fish typically living in estuaries and travelling out to sea to spawn on a lunar cycle. They feed in the shallow sand and mud flats, on benthic organisms, such as worms, mollusks, shrimp and crabs. They use their conical-shaped snouts to root out their prey and can often be seen with their tails out of the water. Bonefishes possess crushing teeth in their palates.

Nemoossis and Pterothrissus[edit]

These genera are similar to Albula, except they can be found in deeper waters.


  • Order Albuliformes Greenwood et al. 1966 sensu Forey et al. 1996 [Albuloidea Hay; Albuloidei; Albulina Günther 1868][5][8][9]


  1. ^ Werner Schwarzhans (2018). "A review of Jurassic and Early Cretaceous otoliths and the development of early morphological diversity in otoliths". Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen. 287 (1): 75–121. doi:10.1127/njgpa/2018/0707.
  2. ^ a b Hidaka, K., Tsukamoto, Y. & Iwatsuki, Y. (2016): Nemoossis, a new genus for the eastern Atlantic long-fin bonefish Pterothrissus belloci Cadenat 1937 and a redescription of P. gissu Hilgendorf 1877 from the northwestern Pacific. Ichthyological Research, 64 (1): 45–53.
  3. ^ Van Der Laan, Richard; Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ronald (11 November 2014). "Family-group names of Recent fishes". Zootaxa. 3882 (1): 1–230. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3882.1.1. PMID 25543675.
  4. ^ Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (2017). "Albulidae". FishBase version (02/2017). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Haaramo, Mikko (2007). "Albuloidei". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2016). "Notacanthiformes" in FishBase. October 2016 version.
  7. ^ a b DiMaura, P. (2007). "Huge Bonefish Caught in Florida Keys Weighs in at 16 Pounds, 3 Ounces; World Record Pending". The Florida Keys and Key West. Archived from the original on 2016-10-05.
  8. ^ Nelson, Joseph S.; Grande, Terry C.; Wilson, Mark V. H. (2016). Fishes of the World (5th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118342336.
  9. ^ Laan, R. van der (11 October 2018). "Family-group names of fossil fishes". European Journal of Taxonomy (466). doi:10.5852/ejt.2018.466. ISSN 2118-9773. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  10. ^ L-Recinos, Marleni; Cantalice, Kleyton M.; Caballero-Viñas, Carmen; Alvarado-Ortega, Jesús (2023). "A new Mesozoic teleost of the subfamily Albulinae (Albuliformes: Albulidae) highlights the proto-Gulf of Mexico in the early diversification of extant bonefishes". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 21 (1). doi:10.1080/14772019.2023.2223797. ISSN 1477-2019.