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Difference Between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Bone Formation: Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes Examples

In order to understand the difference between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes, one must be aware of Pisces and their classification. Then, one can differentiate between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes.

Pisces: These are genuine jawed vertebrates having distinct respiratory, urinary, and circulatory systems. These species are poikilotherms, which means they are unable to control their own body temperature. In essence, all fish fall within this group.

Classification of Pisces

The first jawed vertebrates are members of the phylum Pisces, and the study of fish is known as Ichthyology. They may be maritime or freshwater aquatic. The body of a Pisces has a streamlined appearance and is covered in many dermal scale types, including Placoid, Cosmoid, Ganoid, Cycloid, and Ctenoid. Animals with fish have chilly blood. Placodermi, Chondrichthyes, and Osteichthyes make up the simple classification of superclass Pisces.

What is Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes?

Chondrichthyes: The class of cartilaginous fishes known as Chondrichthyes includes these species, which have skeletons predominantly made of cartilage. Jawed vertebrates known as Chondrichthyes have paired fins, paired nares, scales, and a heart with chambers arranged in series. From the 10 cm (3.9 in) finless sleeping ray to the 10 m (32 ft) whale shark, Chondrichthyes are still alive today.

Examples of Chondrichthyes

Several well-known examples of cartilaginous fish include:


The dogfish Scoliodon

Whale sharks, or Rhincodon

The great white shark, Charcarodon charcharias.


Strigon (Stingray)

Electronic torpedo

Narcine bancroftii (Lower Electric Ray)

Male (Manta ray)


Leucoraja erinacea, or little skate

The Andaman leg skate, or Cruriraja andamanica

Gurgesiella, a tiny deepwater scad


Sawfish, Pristis clavata

The narrow sawfish called Anoxypristis cuspidata.


Shark with white spots, Hydrolagus alphus

the Australian ghost shark, Callorhinchus milii

The Whitefin chimaera, or Chimaera argiloba

Osteichthyes: The complex superclass of vertebrates known as Osteichthyes, sometimes known as the "bony fish," has skeletons that are predominantly made of bone tissue. In contrast to them, the Chondrichthyes have skeletons that are predominantly made of cartilage. Osteichthyes, a category that includes 28,000 species of fish and 45 orders, spanning 435 families, is made up of the bulk of fish species. It is currently the biggest class of vertebrates.

Examples of Osteichthyes

Several well-known examples of bony fish include:

Ray-finned Fish

Bony Fishes that Live in the Ocean

Hippocampus (Seahorse)

Exocetus, a flying fish

Lophius (angling fish)

Bony Fishes that Live in Freshwater

Labeo rohita

Labeo catla

Aquarium Bony Fishes: 

Clarias (Walking catfish or Magur) Mystus (Catfish)

Fighting fish called Betta splendens

Pterrophyllum (Angelfish)

Fish with Lobe-fins


Lepidosiren neoceratodus


Difference Between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes 







These are fishes made of cartilaginous skeletons.

These are fishes made of bony skeletons.



They are found only in marine water. 

They are found in marine as well as fresh water. 



Their body is formed of tiny placoid denticles, which are covered with sharp enamel.

They have cycloids, which are tiny bony plates that make up their exoskeleton. 



The position of their mouth is ventral. 

The position of their mouth is terminal. 



The pair of gills vary from 5-7.

They have 4 pair of gills.



Sharks, Skates, Rays

Clownfish, Lung fish.


The primary distinction between the classes of fish known as Chondrichthyes and osteichthyans is that the former are cartilaginous fish with a bony endoskeleton, while the latter are cartilaginous fish with a cartilaginous endoskeleton. Furthermore, Osteichthyes can be found in both fresh and marine water, but Chondrichthyes can only be found in marine water.

FAQs on Difference Between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes

1. What are the characteristics of Chondrichthyes?

The characteristics of Chondrichthyes induce-

  • The majority of them are fishes from the sea.

  • They have two jaws on them. Their jaws have a great deal of force.

  • The second-largest vertebrate and the biggest fish are whale sharks. Some whale sharks may reach a length of 15 meters.

  • Ventrally, the mouth is visible.

  • They have a cartilaginous endoskeleton, which is strengthened by calcium salt deposits.

  • The notochord remains throughout life.

  • Most of them have a heterocercal tail. The tail has two lobes; the top lobe is lengthy and has vertebrae extending into it; the lower lobe is shorter and forms the distinctive heterocercal tail.

  • Placoid scales, which resemble tiny teeth, cover the skin.

2. What are the characteristics of Osteichthyes?

The characteristics of Osteichthyes include:

  • It is the biggest class of vertebrates, with more than 29,000 species of bony fish.

  • The majority of fish species employed for commercial purposes belong to this class, which includes both marine and freshwater fish.

  • The ocean sunfish (Mola mola), which is also the tiniest known vertebrate at less than 8 mm in length, is the largest at 4 m and weighs roughly 1500 kg.

  • The bones that make up their endoskeleton.

3. What is Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes?

The two primary taxonomic groups of fishes, cartilaginous fish, and bony fish, respectively, are Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes. Together, these two make up nearly all of the fish species that are known to exist on Earth. There are 28,000 different species of bony and cartilaginous fish in total.

Sharks, rays, and skates are examples of cartilaginous fish, whereas hagfish and lampreys are examples of agnatha or jawless fish. (A fourth class, the armored fish Placoderms, is now extinct, and most experts include the spiny sharks Acanthodes under the Osteichthyes classification.)