Difference between Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes

Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes are two different types of fish. They belong to taxonomic classes of fish while together these two types almost make all the fish species. Chondrichthyes are cartilaginous fish whereas osteichthyes are called bony fish. Approximately some 28,000 species of bony and cartilaginous fish exit on the planet. Some say that Osteichthyes are considered more diversified than Chondrichthyes. Both kinds of fish have different characteristics as well. Usually it has been observed that Chondrichthyes fish move their upper jaw freely from the skull while Osteichthyes fish cannot move their upper jaw as easily.


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    Chondrichthyes are called cartilaginous fish. You can see the clear difference from their cartilage frame. Sharks, skates and rays are the main examples of Chondrichthyes fish. This type of fish usually does not have a connection between the upper jaw and skull. It gives them great difficulty as well to move it independently. The main structure of Chondrichthyes fish is comprised of ten cartilage parts. Chondrichthyes fish also have eyelids to protect their eyes and at the same time, Chondrichthyes fish usually do not have ribs and bone marrow. The dermal dental structure is also slightly different than Osteichthyes fish. Chondrichthyes fish and their red blood cells produced in the spleen as the two lobes of the fin are not equal in size. The size of the two lobes of the fin is important as they give them sharp mobility in the water. The fin is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the main body in Chondrichthyes fish. Chondrichthyes' fins that are parallel to the longitudinal axis of the main body basically helps them to balance and move fast in the water. Chondrichthyes are often called living fossils while many scientists believe that their evolution is in progress for the past 420 million years.

    - Image Courtesy: geol.umd.edu

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    Usually bony fishes are called Osteichthyes. This fish belongs to taxonomic class of fish as their internal skeleton is made of with calcified and ossified bones. Widely called bony fish, Osteichthyes are more often found in rivers, streams along with the open sea. Unlike Chondrichthyes fish, Osteichthyes' upper jaw is connected with the skull. Study reveals that Osteichthyes' skulls have 63 tiny bone parts. These fish also do not have eyelids and always remain open.

    - Image Courtesy: cnx.org

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