Modifications in the Fish Classification in FishBase

Important note: The FishBase database and website must not be considered as publications for nomenclatural purposes. If a name would be demonstrated as new, it must be considered as not available under the ICZN provisions, Art. 8.2 (International Code of Zoological Nomenclature).

Changes in February 2023

Since the previous major update in March 2021 (see below), we made a further change by replacing the class Actinopteri (that was confusing with Actinopterygii) by three classes, namely Chondrostei (sturgeons and paddlefishes), Holostei (bowfins and gars), and Teleostei (teleosts). These three groups and their names are currently valid but at ranks intermediary between Class and Order. We just uplifted them at class rank to highlight the Teleostei as a group in our simplified classification, which was missing up to now.

De facto, this flattened classification fails to represent the phylogenetic relationships, that should be read as follows (the phylogeny is also simplified).
Note that the 10 classes above are noted in bold:

Changes in March 2021

The latest edition of Fishes of the World – FoW (Nelson et al., 2016) integrated the recent wide-scope phylogenetic studies (e.g., Betancur-R et al., 2013, as DF for DeepFin, and others) resulting in a large re-organization of the bony fish classification at the top of the tree, i.e., Perciformes and Scorpaeniformes, and allies. We waited that the community supports these major changes, especially Catalog of Fishes (ECoF), which seems to be broadly the case despite some necessary continuous adjustments. This re-arrangement was postponed by Nelson in the previous FoW edition (2006, see comments under Scorpaeniformes) because he estimated rightly that the scopes of the studies at that time were not large enough.

Here are the constraints we followed:

Besides the bony fishes, Rays of the World (Last et al., 2016) made a number of changes after FoW2016 in Batoidea, but they were already integrated.

Main changes:

The current classification may change in the next 2-3 updates before a more stable classification is established. A comparison between FishBase2020, FoW2017, DF2017 and ECoF will be provided in the next update. Note that the complete DF2017 is available for each family in their family page (except for the newly described or modified ones since). One project is to have an additional page where species are organized along this phylogeny. See also why ECoF and FishBase are not updated at the same time.

Note that the information for orders and families are still being updated and not complete for this update.

Nicolas Bailly,
February 2023