On the fifth day of Fishmas cladistics gave to me…
- FIVE! BOH-NY TONGUES!
- Four elopomorphs
- Three Holosteans
- Two Chondrostei
- And a bichir at the base of Actinopterygii
Day five is the Osteoglossomorpha, the bonytongues. As a group they are generally pretty familiar, with a broad range of morphologies, habitats and sizes (including one of the largest freshwater fish in the world). They are notable for their toothed or bony tongues (there’s the name!) but their diversity reflects their long evolutionary history. This includes giant predators, small insectivores, filter feeders, some are weakly electric, some are typical fish shapes, many are really uniquely shaped. The group includes arapaima, arowana, freshwater butterflyfish (not the marine ones), featherback knifefish (not the South American ones), elephantnose fish, the Aba-Aba, and Hiodontiformes (mooneyes/goldeyes, the North American bonytongues). As a group, they are the sister to the rest of the Osteoglossocephalai. As mentioned yesterday, this clade used to be considered closer to the Holostei than the elopomorphs, but research continues.
This incredible diversity of morphologies has lead to…not a whole lot of diversity of figures. I am fortunate to have quite a few different models, some of which are 3D prints that I painted as best as I could…this includes a Clown featherback knifefish and a Double-nose Elephant fish. There is also the African Freshwater Butterflyfish made for the FaunaFiguresFishes (possibly one of the best models of the series). The other two animals are an Asian arowana from Takara, and a Pirarucu from Colorata; these latter two animals are very, very popular as models and figures, in particular from Japan but there are others as well. There are other osteoglossomorphs as well–other arowana species are made more rarely; and the Aba-Aba and hiodontiformes have yet to be made (the latter were another lost promise from the Toy Fish Factory…disappointing).
Tomorrow, we’re going to start getting into the far more familiar fish territory…