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List of largest fish

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Title: List of largest fish  
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Subject: Diversity of fish, Digital Fish Library, Papilla (fish anatomy), Glossohyal, Operculum papillare
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List of largest fish


  • Lobe-finned fish (Sarcopterygii) 1
  • Lungfish (Dipnoi) 2
  • Ray-finned bony fish (Actinopterygii) 3
  • Cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes) 4
  • Spiny sharks (Acanthodii) 5
  • Armored fishes (Placodermi) 6
  • Hagfish (Myxini) 7
  • Lampreys (Petromyzontida) 8
  • References 9

Lobe-finned fish (Sarcopterygii)

The coelacanth is one of the strangest and most primitive fish

The largest living lobe-finned fish is the coelacanth. The average weight of the living West Indian Ocean coelacanth, (Latimeria chalumnae), is 80 kg (180 lb), and they can reach up to 2 m (6.6 ft) in length. Specimens can measure up to 110 kg (240 lb). The largest lobe-finned fish of all time was Hyneria at up to 5 m (16 ft).[1]

Lungfish (Dipnoi)

The largest lungfish, the African lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus), is smooth, elongated, and cylindrical with deeply embedded scales. The tail is very long and tapers at the end. They can reach a length of up to 2 m (6.6 ft) and may weigh as much as 50 kg (110 lb).[2][3] The pectoral and pelvic fins are also very long and thin, almost spaghetti-like. The newly hatched young have branched external gills much like those of newts. After 2 to 3 months the young transform (called metamorphosis) into the adult form, losing the external gills for gill openings. These fish have a yellowish gray or pinkish toned ground color with dark slate-gray splotches, creating a marbling or leopard effect over the body and fins. The color pattern is darker along the top and lighter below.[4]

Ray-finned bony fish (Actinopterygii)

The ocean sunfish is the heaviest of the bony fish

The largest living bony fish (superclass Osteichthyes, which includes both ray-finned and lobe-finned fish) is the widely distributed ocean sunfish (Mola mola), a member of the order Tetraodontiformes. The record size sunfish crashed into a boat off Bird Island, Australia in 1910 and measured 4.3 m (14 ft) from fin-to-fin, 3.1 m (10 ft) in length and weighed about 2,300 kg (5,100 lb).[5]

The extremely rare king of herrings or oarfish, the longest of all bony fish.

As to length, the longest extant bony fish on earth is the king of herrings or oarfish (Regalecus glesne). Slender and compressed, this fish averages over 6 m (20 ft) long at maturity. A specimen caught in 1885 of 7.6 m (25 ft) in length weighed 275 kg (606 lb). The longest known king of herrings, which was hit by a steamship, was measured as 13.7 m (45 ft) long, but unverified specimens have been reported up to 16.7 m (55 ft).[5]

Much larger bony fish existed prehistorically, the largest ever known having been Leedsichthys, of the Jurassic period in what is now England. This species is certainly the largest bony fish ever and perhaps the largest non-cetacean marine animal to have ever existed. Estimates of the size of this fish range from 21 to 27 m (69 to 89 ft) and mass from 20 to 50 tons. A maximum size of 22 m (72 ft) and 25–30 tons has been deemed to be most realistic.[6]

The remains of a 1000 kg beluga sturgeon, one of the largest bony fish
The largest species is the beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) of the Caspian and Black seas, the only extant bony fish to rival the massiveness of the ocean sunfish. The largest specimen considered reliable (based on remains) was caught in Volga estuary in 1827 and measured 7.3 m (24 ft) and weighed 1,474 kg (3,250 lb).[5] The slightly smaller kaluga (Huso dauricus) or great Siberian sturgeon has been weighed reliably up to 1,140 kg (2,510 lb) (Berg, 1932) and a length of 5.6 m (18 ft).[5][7] The North American white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), unverified to 907 kg (2,000 lb) and 6.1 m (20 ft), Chinese, European Oceanic, and the Russian sturgeon (A. gueldenstaedtii), at as much as 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and 5.5 m (18 ft) for a 75-year-old female, also can attain great sizes.[5] Atlantics and Baikal sturgeons are following as well. These fish are sometimes called the largest freshwater fish but sturgeons spend a great deal of time in brackish water and switch back and forth between saltwater and freshwater environments in their life cycle. Also included in this order are the paddlefish and the Chinese Paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), which may now be extinct and is at least critically endangered, is also a very large fish. Reportedly, fisherman as recently as the 1950s have caught paddlefish measuring up to 6.7 m (22 ft) in total length, although no specimen greater than 3.1 m (10 ft) has been scientifically measured. The weight of the Chinese Paddlefish is reportedly 300 to 500 kg (660 to 1,100 lb).[8][9]
The largest bonefishes are the Bonefish (Albula vulpes) weighs up to 19 lb (8.6 kg) and measures up to 90 cm (35 in) long. It is silvery in color with dusky fins. The bases of the pectoral fins are yellow.
The head of a European conger, the world's most massive eel
The largest species bowfins Bowfin (Amia calva) The most distinctive characteristic of the bowfin is its very long dorsal fin consisting of 145 to 250 rays, and running from mid-back to the base of the tail. The caudal fin is a single lobe, though heterocercal.[10] They can grow up to 109 centimetres (43 in) in length, and weigh 9.75 kilograms (21.5 lb).[11]
The largest species of "true eel", if measured in weight and overall bulk, is the European conger (Conger conger). The maximum size of this species has been reported to 3 m (9.8 ft) and a mass of 110 kg (240 lb).[12] Several moray eels can equal or exceed the previous eel in length but do not weigh as much. The longest fish in the order, at up to 4 m (13 ft), is the slender giant moray (Strophidon sathete) of the Indo-Pacific oceans.[13]
An order best known for its tiny representatives, the largest species is the jacksmelt (Atherinopsis californiensis) of the Pacific Ocean. Although it reaches 45 cm (18 in), it is not known to even reach 450 g (0.99 lb).[14]
The largest barreleyes are javelin spookfish (Bathylychnops exilis)found in the northern Pacific and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean near the Azores where it is found at depths of around 640 metres (2,100 ft). This species grows to a length of 50 centimetres (20 in) SL.[15]
The largest jellynose fishes is Ateleopus japonicus is an exception, retaining several fins as adults and having ventral fins that are located behind (not below) the pectoral fins. Dorsal fins tend to be high, with a rather short base (9-13 rays, but in some as few as three); they are placed just behind the head. They have seven branchiostegal rays. The species have a range of sizes, the longest reaching 2 m (6.6 ft).
The largest member of this order is the lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox), found in all the world's oceans. Slender, with a huge spine, these fish can reach 2.1 m (6.9 ft) long and can weigh up to 11 kg (24 lb).[16]
The largest toadfish, the Pacuma toadfish.
The largest toadfish is the Pacuma toadfish (Batrachoides surinamensis), reaching a size of up to 5 pounds (2.3 kg) and 23 inches (58 cm).[17]
The largest member of this order, best known for its members' ability to breach the water and zip through the sky, is the pelagic Houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus), a slender fish at up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and a weight of 6.35 kg (14.0 lb).[18] The largest true "flying fish" is the Japanese flying fish (Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus japonicus), which can range up to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) in length and weigh over 1 kg (2.2 lb).[9]
Best known for their highly poisonous barbs, the squirrelfish's largest representative is the giant squirrelfish (Sargocentron spiniferum) of the Indo-Pacific, at up to 51 cm (20 in) and 2.6 kg (5.7 lb).[19] The slimmer Holocentrus adscensionis from warm parts of the Atlantic can reach even greater lengths of up to 61 cm (24 in).[20]
Known for flesh that fells flabby to the touch, this order reaches largest sizes in the flabby whalefish (Gyrinomimus grahami) of all southern oceans. This species, which can range up to 0.45 m (1.5 ft) in length and weigh 1.5 kg (3.3 lb), is sometimes commercially fished.[9][21]
The largest species is the African freshwater fish, the giant tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath). The top size of this fish is 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and 50 kg (110 lb).[22][23] Among the largest of the characin family is the popular sport-fish, the golden dorado (Salminus brasiliensis), which can reach up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and weigh 31.4 kg (69 lb).[24] Among the characins are the infamous neotropical piranhas. Carnivorous species can grow up to 0.43 m (1.4 ft), although the Tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum), at up to 1 m (3.3 ft) and 32.4 kg (71 lb), is often considered a giant, herbivorous form of piranha.[9]
The largest herring is probably the Dorab wolf herring (Chirocentrus dorab) of the Indo-Pacific oceans. The maximum size of this species has been reported as much as 1.8 m (5.9 ft), but these slender fish have never been recorded as exceeding 3.4 kg (7.5 lb) in weight.[9]
The minnow family (which includes carp), Cyprinidae, is the largest family of vertebrates, with over 2400 species known today.[25] The largest species is probably the giant barb (Catlocarpio siamensis), which is endemic to three river basins in central Asia and reaches a size of as much as 3 m (9.8 ft) and a weight of as much as 300 kg (660 lb).[26] In centuries past, the Mahseer (Barbus tor) of Southern Asia was reported to reach similar or even larger proportions, but these are dubious since specimens nearly as large as the giant barb have never been reported in recent centuries.[9]
The largest species in this small but interesting order (formerly allied with the salmonids) is the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) of the rivers of North America. These predatory fish can grow up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and 45.4 kg (100 lb).[27][28]
The largest species in this relatively small-bodied order is the Pacific four-eyed fish (Anableps dowei), reaching a size of 34 cm (13 in) and 588 g (1.296 lb).[29]
This small order is usually considered closely related to the true eels although its members are very different in appearance and behavior from eels. The largest species is much-coveted-sport fish, the Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus). The maximum recorded size for this species is 161 kg (355 lb) and length is up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft).[30]
The largest cod, the Atlantic cod.
The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) grows to 2 m (6.6 ft) long and 96 kg (212 lb).[31]
The largest form of stickleback, a small, cylindric type of fish, is the sea stickleback or fifteenspine stickleback (Spinachia spinachia). This species can range up to 22 cm (8.7 in) in length and weigh up to 8.5 g (0.30 oz).[9][32]
These bottom-dwelling fish reach their maximum size in Sicyases sanguineus. This species can reach 30 cm (12 in) in length and weigh up to 1 kg (2.2 lb).[9]
The well-known milkfish (Chanos chanos) is the largest member of this order. The maximum size is 22.7 kg (50 lb) and 1.84 m (6.0 ft) long.[9]
The largest knifefish is the [37] and grows up to 10 centimeters long.freshwater It lives in [36].aquarium fish and is occasionally kept as an Hypopomidae It is part of the family [35]Hypopygus lepturus from South America are is largest knifefish [34]
Only two extant species are known to exist in this relatively new order. The larger of the two is the goldeye (Hiodon alosoides) from the northern rivers of North America, which can reach up to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) in length and can weigh 1.8 kg (4.0 lb).[38][39]
The largest member of this small but fascinating order is the aforementioned king of herrings or oarfish (Regalecus glesne), the longest extant bony fish on earth. Another interesting big fish in this order is the Opah (Lampris guttatus), which as opposed to the king of herrings, is massive and has a chunky, rounded shape. Opahs can range up to 2 m (6.6 ft) in length and weigh up to 270 kg (600 lb).[40]
A large alligator gar, the largest freshwater fish in North America
The largest of the gar, and the largest entirely freshwater fish in North America, is the alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula). The largest gar ever known, caught in Louisiana in 1925, was 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and weighed 137 kg (302 lb).[5]
The largest of this diverse order is the common goosefish (Lophius piscatorius) of the Northeastern Atlantic off of Europe and North Africa. This big-mouthed fish can attain a size of 58 kg (128 lb) and a length of 2 m (6.6 ft).[41]
The largest of the numerous but small lanternfish is Bolin's lanternfish (Gymnoscopelus bolini) of the Indo-Pacific oceans, at up to 249 g (8.8 oz) and 35 cm (14 in).[9]
The largest of mullets flathead mullet (Mugil cephalus) have dark centers which give the appearance of a series (6-7) of dark horizontal stripes. The fish grow to lengths up to 60.0 cm (23.6 in) with weights as high as 4.0 kg (8.8 lb).
The largest member of this order is the widely distributed giant cusk-eels (Lamprogrammus shcherbachevi). A cuskeel can be nearly 2 m (6.6 ft) long, but even large fish probably aren't much over 10 kg (22 lb) since they are quite slender.[9]
The largest smelt is the rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). The body of the rainbow smelt is slender and cylindrical. It has a silvery, pale green back and is iridescent purple, blue, and pink on the sides, with a light underside. When full grown, the rainbow smelt is between 7 and 9 inches (18 and 23 cm) long and weighs about 3 ounces (85 g). Individuals over 12 inches (30 cm) long are known.[42]
The largest species is the South American fish usually known as the arapaima (Arapaima gigas). The maximum size this species can attain is a matter of some controversy and some rank it among the world's largest freshwater fishes. No individual arapaima over 3 m (9.8 ft) has been verified and measured. The skeleton of a fish reported to have been measured by native hunters as 4.5 m (15 ft) and weighing 200 kg (440 lb) when caught, was later examined as a skeleton scientifically and was found to have been roughly within that outsized dimension.[5]
The Atlantic blue marlin is one of the largest species of the perch-like fish.
The title of the largest member of this order, the most numerous order of all vertebrates, is a matter of some debate. A large marlin is the biggest of these fishes: the black marlin (Makaira indica) of the Indo-Pacific, the Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and the Indo-Pacific blue marlin (Makaira mazara). All of these similarly sized species can exceptionally reach up to 5 m (16 ft) in length and weight may be as much as 907 kg (2,000 lb) or even 1,106 kg (2,438 lb).[9][43][44] Another notable giant of the perch order is the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) of the Northern Atlantic ocean, which has been verified at up to 4.4 m (14 ft) and 679 kg (1,497 lb), although can reportedly reach 910 kg (2,010 lb).[45][46] The swordfish (Xiphias gladius) can reach a maximum weight of 650 kg (1,430 lb) and length of 4.5 m (15 ft).[47] Due to heavy fishing of both species, swordfish and tuna of great sizes are increasingly rare. One of the largest freshwater fishes is the Nile perch (Lates niloticus), which grows up to 200 kg (440 lb) and 2 m (6.6 ft).[48] The biggest of snappers is the Cubera snapper (Lutjanus cyanopterus) of the Caribbean sea and east coast of South America, at a maximum size of 57 kg (126 lb) and 1.6 m (5.2 ft) in length.[49][50] The largest species of grunt is the white margate (Haemulon album) of the Caribbean sea and east coast of South America, at up to 7.14 kg (15.7 lb) and 0.8 m (2.6 ft) in length.[51][52] The blennies can range up to 0.55 m (1.8 ft) in the hairtail blenny (Xiphasia setifer) of the Indo-Pacific.[9] The jacks or mackerels reach their maximum size in the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson), which can attain 70 kg (150 lb) and 2.4 m (7.9 ft).[53] The largest butterflyfish are either the lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) or the saddle butterflyfish (C. ephippium), both of the Indo-Pacific and both of which can measure up to 30 cm (12 in).[54] The freckled darter (Percina lenticula) of the United States, the biggest of the darters, reaching 20 cm (7.9 in) and 70 g (2.5 oz).[55][56] The largest drum is the Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) of the Gulf of California, at up to 100 kg (220 lb) and 2 m (6.6 ft) long.[57] Among the sea bass or groupers, many of which can grow quite large, the greatest size are reached in the Atlantic goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara). It can reaches a maximum known length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and weight of 455 kg (1,003 lb).[58] The species-rich cichlids reaches their maximum size in the East African giant cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis), at up to 0.8 m (2.6 ft) long and 5 kg (11 lb).[59] The humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) of the Indo-Pacific's coral reefs is by far the largest wrasse, and it can reach a maximum size of 191 kg (421 lb) and 2.3 m (7.5 ft).[60] Among a fairly small-bodied family, the damselfishes, the Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) of the Pacific coast of America is the biggest, reaching up to 35.5 cm (14.0 in) and 1.2 kg (2.6 lb).[61] The marbled sleeper (Oxyeleotris marmorata) of East Asia is the largest member of the family or sub-order that almost certain contains the smallest living vertebrate, and can reach 0.66 m (2.2 ft) long and weigh 9.9 kg (22 lb).[9][62]
The largest species in this small order (both by number of species and body size) is the sand roller (Percopsis transmontana) of North America. This species can range up to 20 cm (7.9 in) in length and can weigh over 11 g (0.39 oz).[9]
The Pacific halibut, largest of the flatfish, displays its effective camouflage.
The largest of the well-known and heavily fished flatfish is the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). This giant can reach 363 kg (800 lb) and 3 m (9.8 ft), although fish even approaching this size would be extraordinary these days.[63] The Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is also sometimes titled the largest flatfish, although it has a slightly smaller maximum size, at 320 kg (710 lb) and 2.8 m (9.2 ft).[9][64]
The little-known beardfish are sometimes classified with the Beryciformes. The largest beardfish is Polymixia busakhini of the Indo-Pacific, which can range up to 0.6 m (2.0 ft) in length.[9]
The Chinook salmon is one of the largest species of salmon.
The largest bichirs ornate bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis) has black and yellow patterning on its body, head, and fins, with 9 to 11 dorsal spines. It is the largest of the Polypterus species with a protruding upper jaw, reaching 24 inches (61 cm) in length.
The largest gulper eel is the pelican eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides). The pelican eel grows to about 1 m (3.3 ft) in length.
The largest species of salmonid is the taimen (Hucho taimen). The biggest taimen was from the Kotui River in Russia, measuring 2.1 m (6.9 ft) and weighing of 105 kg (231 lb).[65] Some sources claim the largest is the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) of America's Pacific Northwest, although this species falls behind the taiman in maximum size.[9] The maximum size of this fish is 61.4 kg (135 lb) and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) long.[66]
Although less venomous than many smaller fish in the same order, the skilfish (Erilepis zonifer) of the North Pacific, is largest sculpin. The maximum size is 1.9 m (6.2 ft) and the weight can be up to 91 kg (201 lb).[67] The Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) of the west coast of North America is sometimes listed as the largest sculpin but it is not known to exceed 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in length or 60 kg (130 lb) in weight.[9][68] The Cottidae can range up to 0.7 m (2.3 ft) and 11 kg (24 lb) in the cabezon (Scorpaenicthys marmoratus) of coastal North America.[9]
A good-sized wels catfish, such as this specimen of over 200 pounds, is a rival for the title of the largest catfish.
Most authorities now give the crown of the largest catfish to the Mekong giant catfish, Pangasianodon gigas, which is also considered the heaviest completely freshwater fish.[5] This fish has been recorded at sizes up to 350 kg (770 lb) and 3 m (9.8 ft).[69][70][71][72] Closely related to that species, the Asian giant pangasius (Pangasius sanitwongsei) can grow to 3 m (9.8 ft) and 300 kg (660 lb).[73] However, the wels catfish (Silurus glanis) of Europe, strongly rivals the proceeding species in terms of massiveness and could possibly surpass them in length. While wels have been confirmed to 3.1 m (10 ft), other whiskered giants have been reliably reported to grow to 3.7 m (12 ft) and 265 kg (584 lb) and more extraordinarily to 4.3 m (14 ft).[5] Another giant of the catfish world is the South American Brachyplatystoma filamentosum, which can reportedly reach up to 3.6 m (12 ft) and 200 kg (440 lb).[74]
The largest bristlemouth, the short-tailed barbeled dragonfish
The largest ridgeheads Poromitra curilensis, a Pacific ridgehead related to the crested bigscale,[75] at up to 18 centimetres standard length (SL; a measurement excluding the caudal fin).[76] Most ridgeheads are well under 10 centimetres SL.
The largest of the deep-sea bristlemouths is the short-tailed barbeled dragonfish (Oppostomias micripnus). The top size of a female of this species is probably over 452 g (0.996 lb) and 50 cm (20 in) long.[9] In species like the barbeled dragonfish (Idiacanthus atlanticus), the worm-like females can measure up to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) long, about 50 times as long as the male.[77] Although Idiacanthus is much more slender and is lighter than Oppostomias.[9]
The tropic-dwelling swamp-eels, which are not closely related to true eels, reaches their largest size in the marbled swamp eel (Synbrachus marmoratus) of Central and South America. This fish can range up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and weigh 7 kg (15 lb).[9]
The largest of this diverse order is the red cornetfish (Fistularia petimba), a long, thin species found in all tropical oceans. This fish can reach a length of 2 m (6.6 ft) and a weight of 4.65 kg (10.3 lb).[9] The largest of the famous, petite seahorses is the big-belly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) found off of Australia and New Zealand, which can grow to 35 cm (14 in) high and weigh over 60 g (2.1 oz).[78]
The largest pufferfish is mbu pufferfish (Tetraodon mbu) its massive size, growing to a length of 67 cm (26 in). As such, these fish are difficult to adequately house in captivity since they require a very large aquarium and appropriately scaled water filtration. from Congo river are largest triggerfish titan triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) to depths of 50 m (160 ft) in most of the Indo-Pacific, though it is absent from Hawaii. With a length of up to 75 centimetres (30 in),[79]
The largest species of dory is the Cape dory (Zeus capensis) reaching a size of 90 cm (35 in) and a weight of 20 kg (44 lb).[9][80]

Cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes)

A size comparison of a whale shark and a human.
The cartilaginous fish are not directly related to the "bony fish", but are sometimes lumped together for simplicity in description. The largest living cartilaginous fish, of the order Orectolobiformes, is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), of the world's tropical oceans. It is also the largest living animal that is not a cetacean and, like the largest whales, it is a docile creature that filter-feeds on tiny plankton. An average adult species measure 9.7 m (32 ft) long and weigh an average of 9 tonnes. The largest verified specimen was caught in 1949 off Karachi, Pakistan and was 12.7 m (42 ft) long and weighed 21.5 tonnes. Although many are dubious, there are several reports of larger whale sharks, with reliable sources citing unverified specimens of up to 37 tonnes and 17 m (56 ft).[5][81]
A large tiger shark ranks as the biggest of ground sharks.
The largest species of this order is the widely distributed tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). Specimens have been verified to at least 5.5 m (18 ft) but even larger ones have been reported. One specimen, a gravid female caught off Australia and measuring only 5.5 m (18 ft) long, weighed an exceptional 1,524 kg (3,360 lb).[5] A female caught in 1957 reportedly measured 7.4 m (24 ft) and weighing 3,110 kg (6,860 lb), although this very outsized shark is not known to have been confirmed.[82] The largest of the infamous "requiem sharks" (in the Carcharhinus genus) seems to be the dusky shark (C. obscurus), at up to 4.2 m (14 ft) and a weight of 350 kg (770 lb).[83] However, the bulkier bull shark (C. leucas) has been estimated to weigh about 575 kg (1,268 lb) in recent specimens that measured over 4 m (13 ft) long.[84] The largest hammerhead shark is the great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), which can reach 6.1 m (20 ft) and weigh 500 kg (1,100 lb).[85] The most species-rich shark family, the catsharks, are fairly small-bodied. The largest, the nursehound (Scyliorhinus stellaris), can grow up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft) and a weight of at least 10.8 kg (24 lb).[86][87]
These odd, often translucent cartilaginous fish are typically quite small. The largest species is the carpenter's chimaera (Chimaera lignaria) of the oceans near Australia and New Zealand. It can reach up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in length and weigh 15.4 kg (34 lb).[88]
The largest frill sharks and cow shark is the Bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus). This large species typically inhabits depths greater than 90 m (300 ft), and has been recorded as deep as 1,875 m (6,152 ft). The largest specimen known (caught off of Cuba) reportedly weighed 763 kg (1,682 lb) and measured 4.82 m (15.8 ft) long.[5]
These tropical, small sharks are noted for their broad head shape. The largest species is the Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) of Australasian waters, at up to 1.65 m (5.4 ft) long and weighing up to 20 kg (44 lb).[89]
The dramatically large mouth of the basking shark, the second largest living fish.
  • Mackerel sharks (Lamniformes)
Most species in this order grow quite large. The largest living species is the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) of the world's northern temperate oceans, also the second largest fish. The largest specimen, which was examined in 1851, measured 12.3 m (40 ft) long and weighed 16 tonnes.[5] Perhaps the most famous "big fish", is the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Specimens have been measured up to 6.4 m (21 ft) and weighing 3,312 kg (7,302 lb), with great whites of at least 7 m (23 ft) long generally accepted.[5][90] The common thresher (Alopias vulpinus), can grow to 7.6 m (25 ft) and weigh over 510 kg (1,120 lb), but much of its length is comprised by its extreme tail.[91][92] Odd and recently discovered giants also live in this order: the slender, sword-snouted goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni), with unweighed specimens of up to approximately 6.17 m (20.2 ft), and the massive megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios), up to 5.6 m (18 ft) long and a weight of 1,215 kg (2,679 lb).[93][94]
The largest shark in the fossil record is the Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon or Carcharocles megalodon), a Cenozoic Era relative of the great white shark. The range of estimates of the maximum length for this giant shark are from 17 to 20.3 m (56 to 67 ft), with a mass ranging from 65 to 114 short tons (59 to 103 t).[95][96][97] C. megalodon is also regarded as the largest macro-predatory fish ever.
The manta ray, here seen at Hin Daeng, Thailand, is the largest ray.
Both the largest species of this order and the largest of all rays is the manta ray (Manta birostris). This peaceful leviathan can reach a size of 3,000 kg (6,600 lb), a "disk" width of 9.1 m (30 ft) and a total length of 5 m (16 ft).[98] A related species reaches barely smaller sizes, the devil fish (Mobula mobular). It can grow up to a 5.2 m (17 ft) disk width, a total length of 6.5 m (21 ft) and a weight of at least 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).[99][100] The largest stingray is the generally accepted to be the short-tail stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata), found off the southern tip of Africa and Australasia, at up to 4.3 m (14 ft) across the disk and weighing more than 350 kg (770 lb).[101] Although there are several large stingrays that at least approach this species' size. One, the giant freshwater stingray (Himantura polylepis), of the large rivers of South Asia, can weigh up to 600 kg (1,300 lb), measure up to 5 m (16 ft) in total length and have a disc span of 2.4 m (7.9 ft).[102][103]
The whale shark is the largest species in this order. No other species in the order even approaches this size. The next largest species is the Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum), which can grow up to 4.3 m (14 ft) across the disk and weighing more than 350 kg (770 lb).[104]
  • Sawfish (Pristiformes)
Distinguished by a long snout decorated with sharp teeth on the sides, these little-known cartilaginous fishes are often reported to attain huge sizes. The definitive largest species is not known, although the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) and the green sawfish (P. zijsron), at up to reportedly 7.6 and 7.3 m (25 and 24 ft), respectively, may be the largest.[105][106] Weights of up to 1,955 kg (4,310 lb) have been reported, possibly for the smalltooth species, but are not verified.[107] The large-tooth sawfish (P. perotteti) and freshwater sawfish (P. microdon) can both exceed 6.5 m (21 ft).[108][109]
Despite sharing a similar appearing snout adapted in both to shred fish prey, the sawsharks are typically much smaller than sawfish. The largest sawshark is the Sixgill sawshark (Pliotrema warreni) of the South Indian ocean, which can grow up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft) and weigh 15 kg (33 lb).[110]
The giant guitarfish is largest species in the skate order.
The largest and most diverse order of rays' largest species is the giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis) of the Red Sea and the eastern Indian ocean. The top size of the species is 227 kg (500 lb) and 3.1 m (10 ft).[111] The largest of the skates is the common skate (Dipturus batis). This species can grow up to 2.85 m (9.4 ft) in length and weigh 97.1 kg (214 lb).[112]
The largest known member of this order is the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), a giant predator of sub-Arctic waters. This species has been confirmed to as much as 6.4 m (21 ft) in length and a weight of 1,397 kg (3,080 lb), although specimens of up to 7.3 m (24 ft) have been reportedly caught.[5][113] The Pacific sleeper shark (Somniosus pacificus) has been measured only to 4.4 m (14 ft) and 888 kg (1,958 lb) in a gravid female, although specimens up to an estimated 7 m (23 ft) have been scientifically observed.[5][114] The spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), a very common species, reaches the largest sizes of the "true dogfish" family. Specimens have been measured at up to 1.6 m (5.2 ft) and 9.1 kg (20 lb).[115]
The largest of the bottom-dwelling angelsharks (named for their shape rather than disposition) is the common angelshark (Squatina squatina) of the northeast Atlantic ocean. This species can grow up to 2.4 m (7.9 ft) long and weigh more than 90 kg (200 lb).[116]
The largest of the electric rays is Atlantic torpedo (Torpedo nobiliana). This fish can measure 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long and weigh 90 kg (200 lb).[117] However, a length of 0.6–1.5 m (2.0–4.9 ft) and weight of 30 pounds (14 kg) is more typical.[118][119] Females attain a larger size than males.[120]

Spiny sharks (Acanthodii)

The largest spiny shark was Ischnacanthus. Some species were of large size, up to 2 m in length.[121]

Armored fishes (Placodermi)

The largest known fishes of the now-extinct class Placodermi were Dunkleosteus and Titanichthys. These particular animals may have reached lengths of 10 m (33 ft) and are estimated to have weighed in at 3.6 tons.

Hagfish (Myxini)

The hagfish, which are not taxonomically true fish, are among the most primitive extant vertebrates. There is only one order and family in this animal class. All of the 77 known species have elongated, eel-like bodies but can immediately be distinguished by their strange downward-facing mouth, among other unique morphological features. The largest form is the Goliath hagfish (Eptatretus goliath). This species can range up to 1.28 m (4.2 ft) in length and weigh to 6.2 kg (14 lb).[122]

Lampreys (Petromyzontida)

Sea lamprey feeding on a lake trout

As with the similarly unique hagfish, lampreys appear eel-like in shape but are unique enough to earn their own class. These creatures have cartlaginous skeletons and have been evolving separately from any other group for over 400 million years. They are predatory and often attach themselves to a fish or other small animal and gradually drain blood and organs. The largest species is the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), which can grow to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) and weigh 2.5 kg (5.5 lb).[123]


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