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The word knife fish refers to three different groups of fish that are not closely related to each other.

  • The family of the Old World Knifefish (Notopteridae) from the order of the osteoglossiformes (Osteoglossiformes).
  • The order of the New World knife fish (Gymnotiformes), the sister group of the catfish-like (Siluriformes).
  • The family of the snipe knife fish (Centriscidae) from the order of the pipefish (Syngnathiformes).