Actinopterygii (//; from actino- 'having rays', and Ancient Greek πτέρυξ (ptérux) 'wing, fins'), members of which are known as ray-finned fish or actinopterygians, is a class of bony fish that comprise over 50% of living vertebrate species. They are so called because of their lightly built fins made of webs of skin supported by radially extended bony spines, as opposed to the bulkier, fleshy lobed fins of the sister class Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish). Resembling folding fans, the actinopterygian fins can change shape easily and provide superior thrust-to-weight ratios per movement compared to sarcopterygian and chondrichthyian fins. The fin rays attach directly to the proximal or basal skeletal elements, the radials, which represent the articulation between these fins and the internal skeleton (e.g., pelvic and pectoral girdles).
The vast majority (~99%) of actinopterygians are teleosts. By species count, they dominate the subphylum Vertebrata, and constitute nearly 99% of the over 30,000 extant species of fish. They are the most abundant nektonic aquatic animals and are ubiquitous throughout freshwater and marine environments from the deep sea to subterranean waters to the highest mountain streams. Extant species can range in size from Paedocypris, at 8 mm (0.3 in); to the massive ocean sunfish, at 2,300 kg (5,070 lb); and to the long-bodied oarfish, at 11 m (36 ft).
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