This exhibit of the American Museum of Natural History is composed of typical examples of the various groups of vertebrates popularly comprised in the term "fishes." The collection is arranged by groups in the following order:
1. Lampreys and Hagfishes. These are eel-like creatures with round sucking mouths and no jaws—in this unlike fishes in the true application of the word. They are without scales, true teeth or paired limbs, and their backbone is but a thread of cartilage.
2. Sharks and Rays, which are fishes with soft skeletons and small bony scales. They are the most primitive of the ancient type of fishes. Numerous specimens will be found suspended from the ceiling and in cases.
3. ChimTroids or Ratfishes. These are nearly scaleless, living mostly in the deep sea and belonging to the group of silver sharks. The most characteristic forms are represented by models.
4. Lungfishes, found in'the rivers of Australia, Africa and South America. These ancient and nearly extinct forms of salamander-like fishes are shown by specimens of the three surviving types. The African type passes the months when the streams are dried up in cocoon-like form, during which time it breathes only with its lungs.
5. Ganoids, which are mainly bony-scaled fishes and were most numerous in the early geologic ages. The sturgeon, garpike, paddlefish, bowfin and African bichir are among the present survivors. An excellent habitat group of the paddlefish is reproduced. The roe of these fishes is an important article of commerce and constitutes what is known as "American caviar."
6. Teleosts or Bony Fishes. This group comprises about 10,500 species, or more than nine tenths of all the forms of our food and game fishes. A selected number of examples of this group is temporarily installed in the Bird Hall and includes bass, carp, cod, eel, herring and tilefish, which latter recently has become a popular food fish.
Inspection should be made of the Deep Sea fishes Group, showing types found at a depth as great as 3,000 fathoms, or more than three miles. Nearly all the deep-sea fishes in the American Museum of Natural History are provided with luminous organs which are distinctly brought out in the group by a cleverly arranged electrical device. Near-by is the mounted record specimen of an ocean sunfish (Mola), measuring ten feet two inches from tip to tip. In other parts of the Corridor are groups of the shovel-nosed sturgeon, bowfin and garpike.
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