Morphological development and evolution of bony fishes

Striped pufferfish in the water

This research looks at morphological features, such as the beak on this striped puffer (Arothron manilensis)

Principal Investigator

Dr Ralf Britz

Project summary

  • Focus: Understanding how the morphological development of bony fishes has changed over evolutionary time

We study the morphological development of bony fishes, and how it has changed over evolutionary time.

We aim to understand how unusual and spectacular features of bony fishes arise during their development. These features include the suction disc of remoras, the tail of the ocean sunfish, and the beak of pufferfishes.

We are currently studying miniaturisation and developmental truncation in fishes, which is an extreme evolutionary change with fascinating consequences for the organism.

We also look at the evolutionary development of these features, to clarify long-standing homology issues.

Discovery, origins and evolution

We study the Earth's origins and environment, and the evolution of life.


Determining the diversity, biogeography, taxonomy and phylogeny of vertebrates.

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens.