Wfb 232 Ichthyology Taxonomy, Week 6 7 March 2005

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WFB 232 Ichthyology

Taxonomy, Week 6 7 March 2005

Superclass Gnathostomata

Class Actinopterygii

Subclass Neopterygii

Division Teleostei

Subdivision Euteleostei

Superorder Protacanthopterygii

Order Esociformes (Pikes, mudminnows)

No adipose fin, soft-rayed, physostomic, no teeth on maxillaries

Distributed throughout North America and Eurasia

Family Esocidae (pikes)


Piscivorous, with voracious appetites, will also eat other pike

Found in lakes & slow rivers, in shallow water

Elongate body (sagittiform), long snout/jaws, with sharp teeth (piscivorous)

Dorsal & anal fins situated far back on body, near caudal region.

Highly prized sportfish; also commercial fishery in Eurasia

Esox masquinongy can reach several feet in length, 40-60 lbs.


Redfin pickerel, Esox americanus americanus

Chain pickerel, Esox niger

Northern pike, Esox lucius

Muskellunge, Esox masquinongy

Family Umbridae (Mudminnows)

Small – less than 15 cm long; freshwater

Prefer slow water – bogs, slow streams, feed on invertebrates (plankton & insects)

Hide in mud when disturbed – can tolerate dry periods by burrowing in sediments

Disjunct distribution - 1 genus, Umbra, with 4 species worldwide – central Europe, central N. America, Atlantic coast of N. America, and Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington.

IN VERMONT: Central mudminnow, Umbra limi

Order Osmeriformes (smelts, argentines, salangids, galaxiids)

Marine, freshwater, & anadromous species – distributed worldwide

No nuptial tubercles, most have adipose fin

Some species can estivate in droughts, others emit odor similar to cucumbers!

Generally silvery in color; some deep-sea species are bioluminescent

Southern grayling – Australia region (Not a salmonid grayling) – only right gonad is present

Family Osmeridae (smelts)
Fresh & salt water, 7 genera, 11 species

Popular food fish, spawn in sand or gravel in large numbers (good for dip netting)

Ayu – Japanese “sweetfish” – captured using cormorants tethered to a boat

IN VERMONT: Osmerus mordax, Rainbow smelt

Order Salmoniformes
1 extant family – Salmonidae (trouts, salmons, chars, whitefishes, graylings)

Soft rayed, physostomus, swim bladder, adipose fin

Many species are sport fishes; widely stocked worldwide for sport fishing

Freshwater, landlocked, or anadromous

Endemic to entire northern hemisphere; many have been transplanted in southern hemisphere

Mostly piscivorous

Most Pacific salmon are reknowned for their homing abilities – highly selective to their natal tributary when returning from the ocean to spawn.

Cretaceous period – 144 MYA, probably basal group for higher fishes



Salvelinus fontinalis, brook trout

Salvelinus namaycush, lake trout


Salmo salar, Atlantic salmon

Salmo trutta, brown trout


Oncorhynchus mykiss, rainbow trout


Coregonus artedii, cisco or lake herring

Proscopium cylindraceum, round whitefish

Coregonus clupeaformis, lake whitefish

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