List of largest ray-finned bony fish

Posted in Biology

The largest living bony fish is the ocean sunfish, a member of the order Tetraodontiformes. Sunfish have been recorded at sizes as large as a length of nearly 3.6 m (12 ft), a height of 4.5 m (15 ft) from fin to fin and a weight of about 2,273 kg (5,000 lb).

Much larger bony fish existed prehistorically, the largest ever known having been Leedsichthys, of the Jurassic period. Estimates of the size of this fish range from 13.5 m (45 ft) to 30 m (100 ft), but a maximum size of 22 m (72 ft) seems most realistic.


  • Sturgeons (Acipenseriformes). The largest species is the huge beluga sturgeon (Huso huso). The maximum recorded size of this endangered species is nearly 7.9 m (26 ft) and 2,075 kg (4,565 lb). The Kaluga or Great Siberian Sturgeon has been recorded at 1000 kg, making it the largest known freshwater fish.
  • Eels (Anguilliformes). The largest species, if measured in weight and overall bulk, is the European conger (Conger conger). The maximum size of this species is 2.87 m (9.5 ft) and 111 kg (245 lb). Getting slightly longer, at up to 3 m (10 ft) but never exceeding 36 kg (80 lb), is the giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus).
  • Minnows & allies (Atheriniformes). An order best known for its small minnow respresentatives, the largest species is the jacksmelt (Atherinopsis californiensis). Although it reaches 45 cm (18 in), it is not known to even reach 450 g (1 lb).
  • Grinners (Aulopiformes). The largest member of this order is the lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox). Slender, with a huge, dramatic spine, these fish can reach 5.4 kg (12 lb) and 2.1 m (7 ft).
  • Toadfish (Batrachoidiformes). The largest toadfish is the Pacuma toadfish (Batrachoides surinamensis), reaching a size of up to 2.27 kg (5 lb) and 58 cm (23 in).
  • Flying-fish & allies (Beloniformes). The largest member of this order, best known for its members' ability to breach the water and zip through the sky, is the Agujon needlefish (Tylosurus acus), a slender fish at up to 1.5 m (5 ft) and a weight of 3.7 kg (8.2 lb).
  • Squirrelfish (Beryciformes). Best known for their highly poisonous barbs, the squirrelfish largest respresentative is the giant squirrelfish (Sargocentron spiniferum), at up to 60 cm (24 in) and 3.5 kg (7.7 lb).
  • Characins (Characiformes). The largest species is the giant tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath). The top size of this fish is 1.5 m (5 ft) and 70.5 kg (155 lb).
  • Herring (Clupeiformes). The largest herring is probably the Dorab wolf herring (Chirocentrus dorab). The maximum size of this species has been reported as much as 1.83 m (6 ft), but these slender fish have never been recorded as exceeding 3.4 kg (7.5 lb) in weight.
  • Carp (Cypriniformes). The largest species today is probably the giant barb (Catlocarpio siamensis), which reaches a size of as much as 3 m (10 ft) and a weight of as much as 300 kg (660 lb). In centuries past, the Mahseer (Barbus tor) was reported to reach similar or even larger proportions, but large specimens are quite rare recently.
  • Killifish & allies (Cyprinodontiformes). The largest species is the Pacific four-eyed fish (Anableps dowei), reaching a size of 33 cm (13 in) and 588 g (1.3 lb).
  • Cod (Gadiformes). The largest cod species, although it rarely reachs large sizes anymore due to heavy fishing, is the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). The maximum recorded size of this species is 2 m (6.7 ft) long and 96 kg (212 lb).
  • Shellears & allies (Gonorynchiformes). 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 (6.1 ft) long.
  • Ribbonfish & allies (Lampriformes). The largest member of this small but fascinating order is the oarfish (Regalecus glesne), also the longest bony fish on earth. Slender and compressed, this fish averages over 6 m (20 ft) long and can weigh 275 kg (605 lb). One fish was 11.3 m (37.3 ft) long, but there is a possibility that the oarfish reaches 16 m (55 ft).
  • Gars (Lepisosteiformes). The largest of the gar, and the largest entirely freshwater fish in North America, is the alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), reaching a size of 3 m (10 ft) and 140 kg (310 lb).
  • Anglerfish (Lophiiformes). The largest of this diverse order is the common goosefish (Lophius piscatorius). This big-mouthed fish can attain a size of 58 kg (127 lb) and a length of 1.9 m (6.2 ft).
  • Lanternfish (Myctophiformes). The largest of the numerous but small lanternfish is Bolin's lanternfish (Gymnoscopelus bolini), at up to 249 g (8.8 oz) and 35 cm (14 in).
  • Pearlfish & allies (Ophidiiformes). The largest member of this order is the giant cuskeel (Lamprogrammus shcherbachevi). A cuskeel can be nearly 2 m (6.7 ft) long, but even large fish probably aren't much over 10 kg (22 lb) since they are quite slender.
  • Bony-tongued fish (Osteoglossiformes). The largest species is the South American fish usually known as the arapaima (Arampaimas giga). This laterally compressed fish can reach a size of about 3 m and a weight of 202 kg (455 lb).
  • Perches & allies (Perciformes). The title of the largest member of this order, the largest order of all vertebrates, is a matter of some debate. A large marlin is the biggest of these fishes, as they are known to exceed even the huge northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in size. The black marlin (Makaira indica), the Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and the Indo-Pacific blue marlin (Makaira mazara) all reach similar large sizes, at up to 900 kg (2,000 lb) and 4.7 m (15.5 ft).
  • Flatfish (Pleuronectiformes). 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 2.67 m (8.8 ft), although fish even approaching this size would be extraordinary these days.
  • Salmon & allies (Salmoniformes). The largest species is the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The maximum size of this fish is 61.4 kg (135 lb) and 1.5 m (5 ft) long.
  • Sculpins (Scorpaeniformes). Although less venomous than many smaller fish in the same order, the skilfish (Erilepis zonifer) is largest sculpin. The maximum size is 1.9 m (6.2 ft) and the weight can be 90 kg (200 lb).
  • Catfish (Siluriformes). Most authorities now give the crown of the largest catfish to the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas). This huge fish has been recorded at a size of over 3 m (10 ft) and a weight of 356 kg (785 lb). However, the wels catfish (Silurus glanis) may possibly be longer. The largest wels scientifically recorded was 3 m (10 ft) and 220 kg (484 lb).
  • Bristlemouths (Stomiiformes). The largest of the bristlemouths is the short-tailed barbeled dragonfish (Opostomias micripnus). The top size of a female of this species is probably over 452 g (1 lb) and 50 cm (20 in) long.
  • Seahorses & allies (Syngnathiformes). The largest of this diverse order is the red cornetfish (Fistularia petimba), reaching a length of 2 m (6.6 ft) and weight of over 4.5 kg (10 lb).
  • Dories (Zeiformes). The largest species of dory is the Cape dory (Zeus capensis), reaching a size of 90 cm (36 in) and a weight of 20 kg (44 lb).

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