Open main menu

Neopterygii are a group of fish. Neopterygii means "new fins" (from Greek νέος neos, new, and πτέρυξ pteryx, fin). Only a few changes occurred during their evolution from the earlier actinopterygians. They appeared sometime in the Late Permian, before the time of the dinosaurs. The Neopterygii 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 Actinopterygii, they are Agnathans), Neopterygii have lost this sense, even if it has later been re-evolved within Gymnotiformes and catfishes, which possess nonhomologous teleost ampullae.[2]

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.

A very important step in the evolution of the actinopterygian fishes is the origin of the Neopterygii, 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, so that the Neopterygii became the dominant group of fishes (and, thus, taxonomically of vertebrates in general), and they also include the vast majority of the modern fishes, the teleosts.[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.
  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
  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".CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ In ITIS, Gobiesociformes is placed as the suborder Gobiesocoidei of the order Perciformes.
  9. ^ In ITIS, Syngnathiformes is placed as the suborder Syngnathoidei of the order Gasterosteiformes.