Osteichthyes – Bony Fish

In traditional taxonomy, all fish that have a partial or completely ossified skeleton belong to the bony fish. Thus, some 24,000 species are sorted into 480 families or 4100 genera. There are 67 of the families which include only one species. I have sorted the bony fish of the Canary Islands as far as possible into their families and orders to keep a better overview.
A post about the most common fishes of the Canary Islands is also available.

Anguilliformes – Eels & Morays

Anguilliformes are an order of the bony fish, which covers a little more than 900 species. Although most Anguilliformes are night-time hunters, some species can also be observed in caves, crevices and holes during the daytime.

Carangidae – Jacks & Similars

The Carangidae are a family in the superclass of bony fish. With a size of 2m the Greater Amberjack is the largest species within the family. Most of them are predators hunting for other fishes.


The Perciformes are an order of the bony fish and occur worldwide in all types of waters. It includes about 10000 species, of which 20% are freshwater fishes. In addition, about 40% of all fishes belong to the Perciformes.
Common to all is that they have two back fins, which sometimes grow together. Nevertheless, it can be seen that these are two fins. In addition, Perciformes are missing their fat fins.


Percomorpha are a large group of bony fish and comprise over 12,000 fish in 250 families. Since I did not get enough fishes for some families or orders, these are summarized here under Percomorpha. Because almost 50% of all fish species are considered as Percomorpha, it is very difficult to represent kinship relationships. As well Syngnathiformes, Tetraodontiformes , Sparidae, Wrasses as Perciformes are part of the large clade of Percomorpha .


Tetraodontiformes are an order of bony fish with approximately 430 species in 10 families. They are standing out due to fused jaw bones, intermaxillary bones and other changes of the skull common to all species which occur exclusively in this order. When diving in the Canary Islands, we find representatives from the families of triggerfishes, filefishes, pufferfishes, porcupinefishes and ocean sunfishes. Although the latter requires a lot of good luck.

Labridae – Wrasses

Labridae are a family of the large clade Percomorpha and usually very colourful. Wrasses live worldwide in the seas of subtropical, tropical and temperate climates and always close to the coast. In the Canaries they are very frequent, so there is no dive without them.
In many species a sexual dimorphism is present with regard to the colouring. This means that male and female fish of one species have a distinctly different colour.

Sparidae – Sea Breams

The Sea Breams are a family of Percomorpha and live mostly in schools. Although half of all known species live in South African waters, we can observe more than 20 sea breams while diving around the Canary Islands. In addition to the laterally compressed body, a common feature is the continuous back fin. Among the Sparidae, there are omnivores, but also pure herbivores or carnivores. In addition, they are often hermaphroditic or change sex in the course of their lives.


The Blennioidei are a suborder from the large group of Percomorpha. They are usually small, slim and have a body that is not or only incompletely scaly. Their skin has a high density of cells that produce mucus. A distinctive feature of similar orders of bony fish is their coalesced back fin.


The Syngnathiformes are an order of the bony fish, with the individual families showing big differences. A total of around 260 species belong to the Syngnathiformes. They are widespread throughout the worlds oceans, but they prefer to live near the seabed close to the coast. Seahorses, for example, hold tight to different plants, while trumpet fish are mostly found near caves, boulders and crevices.