Common name: Bony tongues


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Bony tongues, OSTEOGLOSSIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Sep 2023,

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Family Taxonomy

The Australian bony tongues were compared and illustrated by Allen & Boeseman (1982) and Allen, et al. (2002). Nelson (1994) has summarised knowledge on relationships of and within the group. The family contains eight species belonging to five genera. Two species and one genus are present in northern Australia.

Family Distribution

The family is distributed in tropical freshwaters of Australia, southeast Asia, Africa and South America. They inhabit freshwater tributaries and larger rivers.

Family Size

The maximum size is about 800 mm total length.

Family Feeding

Bony tongues feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, small fishes and crustaceans.

Family Reproduction

The female incubates her brood of 50-200 young in the oral cavity.


Allen, G.R. & Boeseman, M. (1982). A collection of freshwater fishes from western New Guinea with descriptions of two new species (Gobiidae and Eleotridae). Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 10(2): 67–103 figs 1–7

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Nelson, J.S. (1994). Fishes of the World.  New York : John Wiley & Sons 3rd Edn  600 pp.