Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Gardiner, Brian Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom.
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- Phylogeny and classification
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The most recent and successful group (infraclass) of actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes), first appearing in the Upper Triassic. The members of the Teleostei (teleosts) constitute one of the major fish groups belonging to the class Actinopterygii (actinopterygians or ray-finned fishes). Generally, the class Actinopterygii is divided into the following subclasses: Cladistia [Polypteriformes (bichirs and reedfishes) and fossil orders], Chondrostei [Acipenseriformes (sturgeons and paddlefishes) and fossil orders], and Neopterygii (the remaining actinopterygian orders). The Neopterygii group is further divided into the Holostei [consisting of members of the Lepisosteiformes (gars), Amiiformes (bowfins), and several fossil taxa] and the Teleostei (which is considered as an infraclass). Consisting of about 40 orders, more than 400 families, and 26,000 extant species (Fig. 1), the teleosts account for more than half of all living vertebrates and more than 96% of all living fishes; of these, approximately 60% inhabit marine environments and 40% live in freshwater habitats. In addition, at least 40% of present-day teleosts have no known fossil record. See also: Actinopterygii; Fossil; Holostei; Osteichthyes
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