Pelvic fins in teleosts: structure, function and evolution


  • Y. Yamanoue,

    Corresponding author
    1. Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8564, Japan
      Tel.: +81 4 7136 6215; fax; +81 4 7136 6216; email:
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  • D. H. E. Setiamarga,

    1. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, U.S.A.
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  • K. Matsuura

    1. Collection Center, National Museum of Nature and Science, 3-23-1 Hyakunin-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0073, Japan
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Tel.: +81 4 7136 6215; fax; +81 4 7136 6216; email:


The pelvic fins of teleosts are paired appendages that are considered to be homologous to the hind limbs of tetrapods. Because they are less important for swimming, their morphology and function can be flexibly modified, and such modifications have probably facilitated the adaptations of teleosts to various environments. Recently, among these modifications, pelvic-fin loss has gained attention in evolutionary developmental biology. Pelvic-fin loss, however, has only been investigated in a few model species, and various biological aspects of pelvic fins in teleosts in general remain poorly understood. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding pelvic fins, such as their structure, function and evolution, to elucidate their contribution to the considerable diversity of teleosts. This information could be invaluable for future investigations into various aspects of pelvic fins, which will provide clues to understanding the evolution, diversity and adaptations of teleosts.