On the sixth day of Fishmas cladistics gave to me…
- Six crown groups of the Otomorpha
- FIVE! BOH-NY TONGUES!
- Four elopomorphs
- Three Holosteans
- Two Chondrostei
- And a bichir at the base of Actinopterygii
For day 6 we visit one of the two crown clades of the ‘Clupeocephala’, in this case the ‘Otomorpha’ side. At the basal level is the Clupeiformes themselves, the herring and relatives. From there we work up to the Alepocephali (including fish like slickheads and tubeshoulders…which were formerly part of a completely different of euteleosts); then the Ostariopharysi, which include Anotophysa (milkfish, etc), Cypriniphysae (carp, minnows, loaches, suckers, etc), Characiniphysae (tetras and piranhas, etc), and Siluriphysae (catfish and gymnotiform knifefish). These fish are united by a link for hearing between the swim bladder and the inner ear (although the slickheads appear to require more morphological study to cement their relationships).
This is a group of fish that can be familiar to people for a variety of reasons–some as pets, some as food, some as both! And we might expect a lot of figures and models to represent them, but compared to their overall diversity, it can be surprisingly limited. To represent the Cluepeiformes I have included the Safari Ltd Herring toob figure. For the Aulopocephali, I have a weird plastic fish that came from a lot of toy fish from France…after reaching out to fish Twitter, a Slickhead was the closest anyone could figure (it’s a little rough, maybe representing a dead specimen?). The Milkfish are also poorly represented–the only ones I have are 3D printed models that I tried to paint…I discussed them here. The next three groups are far more broad–cypriniformes are best known as carp and goldfish but there’s no way I’d use those, so I went with the Safari Ltd Colorado Pike Minnow. Likewise, despite how many piranha figures there are, I chose the Kaiyodo Capsule Aquarium Golden Doradoto represent the characins. Finally, there are lots of catfish..and only a few knifefish. So I went with the Kaiyodo Capsule Aquarium Redtail Catfish.
Day seven brings us to the ‘modern’ ray fins’!