Fish bones

Fishes come in such an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. Because of this, there is no 'typical' fish skeleton.

Bones of a fish skull

Bones of a fish skull
Photographer:  © Australian Museum

The hagfishes (Class Myxini) and lampreys (Class Petromyzontida) lack jaws and thus have very different skeletons to other fishes.

The sharks, rays and chimaeras (Class Chondrichthyes) have skeletons made of cartilage. Their skulls are sometimes seen washed up on beaches.

The teleosts (Class Actinopterygii) have skeletons made of bone. These are the skeletons that are most commonly encountered by people.

The images on this page show the bones of a Striped Sea-bass, Morone saxatilis.

View high-resolution X-ray computed tomography images of many fishes on the Digimorph site.

View more detailed information fish bones.


  1. Helfman, G.S., Collette, B.B. & D.E. Facey. 1997. The Diversity of Fishes. Blackwell Science. Pp. 528
  2. Jordan, D.S. 1905. Guide to the Study of Fishes. Henry Holt and Company. Pp. 624.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
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