Printer Friendly

Compare-Contrast-Connect: Comparing Different Classes of Fish: Sharks versus Bony Fishes

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

Cartilaginous fishes are so different from all the other fishes that they are in their own class—the Chondrichthyes. Although cartilaginous fishes have many features in common with the so-called bony fishes, they also have some important differences. SF Fig. 4.1 shows the external anatomy of a cartilaginous shark, and Fig. 4.9 shows the external anatomy of a typical bony fish.


SF Fig. 4.1. (A) A sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

Image courtesy of Brian Gratwicke, Flickr

SF Fig. 4.1. (B) General anatomy of the most common group of sharks, the Carcharhinids, which include sandbar, grey reef, and galapagos sharks.

Image from Living Ocean, CRDG, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Fig. 4.9. (A) An Epaulette soldierfish, Myripristis kuntee

Image courtesy of Rob, Flickr

Fig. 4.9. (B) Anatomy of a soldierfish, Myripristis berndti

Image by Byron Inouye



Question Set
  1. Describe your observations of the differences between the external anatomy of a shark (SF Fig. 4.1) and the external anatomy of a typical bony fish with rayed fins (Fig. 4.9).
  2. Complete SF Table 4.1, a comparison of bony fishes and sharks.
    1. Study the information in the table on the structures and characteristics of sharks.
    2. Supply the information describing the structures and characteristics of bony fishes. Refer as needed to SF Figs 4.1 and 4.2 or other sources.
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.