bony fish


Definition of bony fish

: any of a major taxon (class Osteichthyes or superclass Teleostomi) comprising fishes (such as sturgeons, eels, mackerels, and sunfish) with a bony rather than a cartilaginous skeleton

called also teleost

— compare cartilaginous fish, jawless fish

Examples of bony fish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

As the sharks tear the 8-foot swordfish apart, a large bony fish known as a wreckfish creeps out from behind the researchers' remotely controlled vehicle and grabs a shark in its mouth. Fox News, "Shark swallowed whole during rare deep-sea feeding frenzy off South Carolina coast, video shows," 9 July 2019 The neural circuits that govern social behavior and reward arose early in vertebrate evolution and are present in birds, reptiles, bony fishes and amphibians, as well as mammals. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 But truly massive bony fish like L. problematicus all died out. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Why Did Most Massive Bony Fish Behemoths Die Out?," 4 June 2018 Scientists have long struggled to explain why bony fishes are so small: The heaviest—the ocean sunfish—is just 2.3 metric tons, but cartilaginous fishes like whale sharks can weigh up to 34 metric tons. Colin Barras, Science | AAAS, "This ancient fish was bigger than a whale shark—and faster than scientists ever imagined," 29 May 2018 For hundreds of years scientists have only been able to guess that sharks probably had some bony fish ancestors. Erin Biba, Scientific American, "Sharklike Fossil Fills In the Jaws Family Tree," 1 June 2017 An actual ocean sunfish is the world’s largest bony fish and can weigh from 500 to more than 2,000 pounds, according to experts. Brian Ballou,, "Consensus: Creature that drew a crowd at the beach was a sunfish," 18 Dec. 2017 Despite being the largest bony fish in the world and weighing more than two tons, sunfish are quite elusive, which made the four-year search difficult. Hannah Lang, National Geographic, "Massive Two-Ton Fish Species Discovered," 20 July 2017 Determining a bony fish's age can be easily done by analyzing their otoliths, or ear stones. National Geographic, "272-Year-Old Shark Is Longest-Lived Vertebrate on Earth," 11 Aug. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bony fish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bony fish

1673, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for bony fish

Last Updated

24 Jul 2019

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The first known use of bony fish was in 1673

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bony fish Encyclopedia article about bony fish

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