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Temporal range: Late Permian–recent
Siganus corallinus Brest.jpg
Siganus corallinus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
(unranked): Actinopteri
Subclass: Neopterygii
Regan, 1923[1]

See text for orders.

Neopterygii (from Greek νέος neos 'new' and πτέρυξ pteryx 'fin') is a subclass of ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii). Only a few changes occurred during the evolution of neopterygians from the earlier actinopterygians. They appeared sometime in the Late Permian, before the time of the dinosaurs. The neopterygians were a very successful group of fish, because they could move more rapidly than their ancestors. Their scales and skeletons began to lighten during their evolution, and their jaws became more powerful and efficient. While electroreception and the ampullae of Lorenzini are present in all other groups of fish, with the exception of hagfish (although hagfish are not actinopterygians, they are agnathans), neopterygians have lost this sense, even if it has later been re-evolved within Gymnotiformes and catfishes, which possess nonhomologous teleost ampullae.[2]

A very important step in the evolution of the actinopterygian fishes is the origin of the neopterygians, with the acquisition of a better control of the movements of both dorsal and anal fins, resulting in an improvement in their swimming capabilities. They additionally acquired several modifications in the skull, which allowed the evolution of different feeding mechanisms and consequently the colonization of new ecological niches. All of these characters represented major improvements, resulting in Neopterygii becoming the dominant group of fishes (and, thus, taxonomically of vertebrates in general). Neopterygii also includes the teleosts, which compromise the vast majority of extant fishes.[3]


Phylogeny of Neopterygii[4][5][6][7]

360 mya
Holostei 275 mya

Lepisosteiformes (gars)

Amiiformes (bowfins)

Teleostei 310 mya


  1. ^ Regan, C. Tate (1923). "The Skeleton of Lepidosteus, with remarks on the origin and evolution of the lower Neopterygian Fishes". Journal of Zoology. 93 (2): 445–461. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1923.tb02191.x.
  2. ^ Electroreception By Theodore Holmes Bullock
  3. ^ López-Arbarello, A (2012). "Phylogenetic Interrelationships of Ginglymodian Fishes (Actinopterygii: Neopterygii)". PLOS ONE. 7 (7): e39370. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039370. PMC 3394768. PMID 22808031.
  4. ^ Betancur-R (2016). "Phylogenetic Classification of Bony Fishes Version 4".
  5. ^ Nelson, Joseph, S. (2016). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-1-118-34233-6.
  6. ^ "Actinopterygii". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 3 April 2006.
  7. ^ R. Froese and D. Pauly, editors (February 2006). "FishBase".
  8. ^ Xu, Guang-Hui (2021-01-09). "A new stem-neopterygian fish from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) of Yunnan, China, with a reassessment of the relationships of early neopterygian clades". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 191 (2): 375–394. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa053. ISSN 0024-4082.
  9. ^ In ITIS, Gobiesociformes is placed as the suborder Gobiesocoidei of the order Perciformes.
  10. ^ In ITIS, Syngnathiformes is placed as the suborder Syngnathoidei of the order Gasterosteiformes.