Common name: Tarpons, tenpounders

The order Elopiformes includes two small families of medium to large-sized fishes found in coastal marine, estuarine and freshwater environments. Elopiformes have well-developed gular plates, or extra bones in the throat between the lower jaws, found only in some primitive bony fishes.

Recent molecular work has shown that the order Elopiformes is basal to other groups within the Subdivision Elopomorpha, which also contains the true eels (Order Anguilliformes) and the bonefishes (Order Albuliformes). Like their relatives, tarpons and tenpounders have a leptocephalus larval stage, that unlike most elopomorph fishes, has a forked caudal fin.

The elopiform fossil record dates back 135 million years ago to the Upper Cretaceous period, with fossils resembling tarpons.

Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Tarpons, tenpounders, ELOPIFORMES in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/order/16

Order References

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Helfman, G., B. Collette & D. Facey. 1997 The diversity of fishes. Blackwell Science, Malden, MA. 528 pp.

Inoue, J.G., M. Miya, K. Tsukamoto & M. Nishida 2004. Mitogenomic evidence for the monophyly of elopomorph fishes (Teleostei) and the evolutionary origin of the leptocephalus larva. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32(1): 274-286

McCosker, J.F. 1998. Eels and their allies, pp. 85–86. In Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (eds.) Encyclopedia of Fishes. 2nd Ed. San Diego: Academic Press.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons 601 pp.

Smith, D.G. 1999. Order Elopiformes, pp. 1619-1622. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). Rome, FAO. 1999. pp. 1397-2068.