Fish | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Fish | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

They contribute to nutrient cycling and help maintain the balance of aquatic food webs. Additionally, many fish species are of significant economic and cultural importance worldwide. Fish vertebrates are harvested for food, sport, and the aquarium trade.

What is Fish?

Fish are aquatic vertebrates characterized by their streamlined bodies, gills for extracting oxygen from water, and fins for locomotion. They are a diverse group, with over 30,000 known species inhabiting various aquatic environments, from freshwater lakes and rivers to saltwater oceans.

Fish exhibit remarkable adaptations to their environments. Some have evolved specialized features like bioluminescence to attract prey or avoid predators in the deep ocean, while others, like lungfish, can breathe air in oxygen-deprived water.

Their diversity is further evident in their reproduction methods, which range from external fertilization in many species, where eggs and sperm are released into the water, to internal fertilization in others.

Despite their critical ecological and economic roles, many fish populations face threats from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. Sustainable management practices and conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of these fascinating and important creatures.

General Features

Aquatic Habit

Fish are exclusively aquatic animals, inhabiting a variety of water bodies, including freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water environments.

Streamlined Body

Most fish have a streamlined body shape, which reduces water resistance and aids in efficient swimming.


Fish respire through gills, which extract oxygen from water. Oxygen is absorbed through thin walls in the gill filaments and transported to the bloodstream.


Fish possess various types of fins, including dorsal (on the back), pectoral (on the sides), pelvic (near the ventral surface), anal (near the anus), and caudal (tail) fins. These fins play crucial roles in stability, maneuvering, and propulsion.


Many fish have scales covering their bodies, which provide protection and reduce drag while swimming. The type and arrangement of scales can vary among species.

Vertebrate Structure

Fish, like other vertebrates, have a well-defined vertebral column (spine) running along their backs. This provides support and protects the spinal cord.


Fish exhibit diverse reproductive strategies, including external fertilization (where eggs and sperm are released into the water), internal fertilization, live-bearing (giving birth to live offspring), and egg-laying with parental care.

Variety of Species

There are over 30,000 known species of fish, making them one of the most diverse vertebrate groups on Earth.


Fish have diverse diets, including herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous species. Their feeding mechanisms can range from filter feeding to actively hunting prey.

Sensory Organs

Fish possess various sensory organs, including eyes adapted to underwater vision, lateral lines for detecting water movement and vibrations, and a keen sense of smell and taste.

Swim Bladder

Many fish have a swim bladder, an internal gas-filled organ that helps them control buoyancy and maintain their position in the water column.

Types of Fish

Bony Fish (Osteichthyes)

This is the largest group of fish, characterized by their bony skeletons. Bony fish can be further divided into two main subgroups:

  • Ray-finned Fish (Actinopterygii)
  • These fish have fins supported by rays, and they make up the majority of fish species, including trout, salmon, bass, and most familiar fish.
  • Lobe-finned Fish (Sarcopterygii)
  • These fish have fleshy, lobed fins.

Cartilaginous Fish (Chondrichthyes)

These fish have skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone. The two main groups of cartilaginous fish are:

  • Sharks (Selachimorpha): Predatory fish with sharp teeth and streamlined bodies.
  • Rays and Skates (Batoidea): These fish have flattened bodies and are related to sharks.

Jawless Fish (Agnatha)

Jawless fish are primitive and lack true jaws.

Catadromous Fish

The opposite of anadromous fish, these species migrate from freshwater to the ocean to spawn. Eels are a well-known catadromous fish.

Carnivorous Fish

Fish that primarily feed on other animals. Examples include pike, barracuda, and groupers.

Herbivorous Fish

These fish primarily consume plant matter. Surgeonfish, parrotfish, and some cichlids are herbivores.

Omnivorous Fish

These fish have a diet that includes both animal and plant matter. Tilapia and many carp species are omnivorous.

Bottom Feeders

Fish that feed on or near the substrate at the bottom of water bodies. Examples include catfish and flounder.

Deep-Sea Fish

These fish inhabit the dark depths of the ocean and have adaptations to extreme pressure and low light conditions. Species like anglerfish and gulper eels are found in these environments.

Schooling Fish

Many fish species form large schools for protection and increased foraging efficiency. Sardines, herring, and anchovies are known for this behavior.

Exotic and Ornamental Fish

Various colorful and unique fish species are kept in aquariums, including tropical fish like bettas, tetras, and angelfish.

Characteristics of Fish

Aquatic Habitat

Fish are exclusively aquatic animals, inhabiting various water bodies such as oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds. They are adapted to their specific aquatic environments.

Streamlined Bodies

Most fish have streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies. This design reduces water resistance, allowing for efficient swimming and maneuvering.

Gills for Respiration

Fish respire through gills, extracting oxygen from water. Gills consist of thin filaments with a large surface area for efficient gas exchange, enabling fish to extract oxygen dissolved in water.

Fins for Locomotion

Fish possess fins, which are modified structures that aid in movement, stability, and steering. These include dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, anal, and caudal fins.

Scales for Protection

Many fish are covered in scales, which provide protection against predators and reduce friction in the water. Scales vary in size, shape, and composition among species.

Vertebral Column

Fish vertebrates have a vertebral column, or spine, made of vertebrae. This structure supports the body and protects the spinal cord.

Reproductive Diversity

Fish exhibit diverse reproductive strategies, including external fertilization, internal fertilization, live-bearing, and egg-laying with various levels of parental care.

Sensory Adaptations

Fish have well-developed sensory organs. They have specialized eyes for underwater vision, lateral lines for detecting water movement, and a keen sense of smell and taste.

Habitat Adaptations

Fish vertebrates have evolved to inhabit various aquatic niches, resulting in adaptations such as bioluminescence in deep-sea fish, air-breathing in lungfish, and camouflage in reef-dwelling species.

List of Fish

  • Alaskan Pollock
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Alligator Gar
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Amberjack
  • American Eel
  • American Paddlefish
  • Anchovies
  • Angelfish
  • Anglerfish
  • Arapaima
  • Archerfish
  • Arctic Char
  • Asian Arowana
  • Asian Carp
  • Atlantic Cod
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Atlantic Sturgeon
  • Australian Flathead Perch
  • Baiji
  • Banana Eel
  • Banjo Catfish
  • Barb
  • Barracuda
  • Barramundi Fish
  • Barreleye Fish (Barrel Eye)
  • Basking Shark
  • Bass
  • Batfish
  • Beluga Sturgeon
  • Beluga Sturgeon
  • Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish)
  • Bigfin Reef Squid
  • Black Bass
  • Black Marlin
  • Blacknose Shark
  • Bladefin Basslet
  • Blobfish
  • Blue Catfish
  • Blue Eyed Pleco
  • Blue Shark
  • Blue Tang
  • Bluefin Tuna
  • Bluegill
  • Bonefish
  • Bonito Fish
  • Bonnethead Shark
  • Bowfin
  • Boxfish
  • Bronze Whaler Shark
  • Brook Trout
  • Buffalo Fish
  • Bull Trout
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Chimaera
  • Chinese Paddlefish
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Cichlid
  • Clearnose Skate
  • Clownfish
  • Cobia Fish
  • Codfish
  • Coelacanth
  • Comb Jellyfish
  • Common Carp
  • Conger Eel
  • Cookiecutter Shark
  • Cory Catfish
  • Crappie Fish
  • Cubera Snapper
  • Damselfish
  • Danios
  • Discus
  • Dragon Eel
  • Dragonfish
  • Drum Fish
  • Dusky Shark
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Eagle Ray
  • Eel
  • Eel catfish
  • Eelpout
  • Electric Catfish
  • Electric Eel
  • Elephant Fish
  • Ember Tetra
  • Emperor Angelfish
  • Escolar
  • Fangtooth
  • Fire Eel
  • Fish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Florida Gar
  • Flounder
  • Flounder Fish
  • Flowerhorn Fish
  • Fluke Fish (summer flounder)
  • Flying Fish
  • Football Fish
  • Freshwater Drum
  • Freshwater Eel
  • Freshwater Jellyfish
  • Freshwater Sunfish
  • Frilled Shark
  • Frogfish
  • Galapagos Shark
  • Gar
  • Garden Eel
  • Ghost Catfish
  • Giant Trevally
  • Goblin Shark
  • Goby Fish
  • Golden Shiner
  • Golden Trout
  • Goldfish
  • Goliath Tigerfish
  • Goonch Catfish
  • Gourami
  • Grass Carp
  • Great Hammerhead Shark
  • Great White Shark
  • Green Sunfish
  • Greenland Shark
  • Grey Reef Shark
  • Grunion
  • Guadalupe Bass
  • Gulper Catfish
  • Gulper Eel
  • Guppy

Fish List

  • Haddock
  • Hagfish
  • Haikouichthys
  • Hairy Frogfish
  • Halibut
  • Hammerhead Shark
  • Hardhead Catfish
  • Herring
  • Hogfish
  • Horn Shark
  • Horse Mackerel
  • Immortal Jellyfish
  • Irukandji Jellyfish
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Jellyfish
  • John Dory
  • Kaluga Sturgeon
  • Kelp Greenling
  • Keta Salmon
  • Keyhole Cichlid
  • Killifish
  • King Mackerel
  • King Salmon
  • Kingklip
  • Kissing Gourami
  • Kitefin Shark
  • Knifefish
  • Koi Fish
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Krill
  • Labout’s Fairy Wrasse
  • Lake Sturgeon
  • Lake Trout
  • Lamprey
  • Lancetfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Lawnmower Blenny
  • Leopard Shark
  • Leptocephalus
  • Lionfish
  • Lizardfish
  • Loach
  • Longfin Mako Shark
  • Longnose Gar
  • Lumpfish
  • Lungfish
  • Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)
  • Mangrove Snapper
  • Manta Ray
  • Masked Angelfish
  • Mayan Cichlid
  • Megalodon
  • Megamouth Shark
  • Mekong Giant Catfish
  • Milkfish
  • Mojarra
  • Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish)
  • Molly
  • Monkfish
  • Moon Jellyfish
  • Moray Eel
  • Mudskipper
  • Mullet Fish
  • Muskellunge (Muskie)
  • Needlefish
  • Neon Tetra
  • Neptune Grouper
  • Nurse Shark
  • Oarfish
  • Ocean Perch
  • Ocean Pout
  • Ocean Whitefish
  • Oilfish
  • Opah
  • Opaleye (Rudderfish)
  • Orange Roughy
  • Orchid Dottyback
  • Oscar Fish
  • Oyster Toadfish
  • Ozark Bass
  • Pacific Sleeper Shark
  • Paddlefish
  • Parrotfish
  • Pea Puffer
  • Peacock Bass
  • Peppermint Angelfish
  • Perch Fish
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Pike Fish
  • Pinfish
  • Pink Salmon
  • Pipefish
  • Piranha
  • Platinum Arowana
  • Pollock Fish
  • Pompano Fish
  • Porbeagle Shark
  • Porcupinefish
  • Pufferfish
  • Pygmy Shark
  • Pyjama Shark

List of Common Fish

  • Rainbow Kribs (Kribensis)
  • Rainbow Shark
  • Red Drum Fish
  • Red-Lipped Batfish
  • Redhump Eartheater
  • Redtail Catfish
  • Reef Shark
  • Rockfish
  • Sailfish
  • Salmon
  • Salmon Shark
  • Sand Tiger Shark
  • Sardines
  • Sawfish
  • Scorpion Fish
  • Sculpin
  • Sea Dragon
  • Sea Slug
  • Sea Trout
  • Sea Urchin
  • Seahorse
  • Shark
  • Sheepshead Fish
  • Shortfin Mako Shark
  • Silky Shark
  • Silver Dollar
  • Sixgill shark
  • Skate Fish
  • Skipjack Tuna
  • Sleeper Shark
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Smooth Hammerhead Shark
  • Snailfish
  • Snook Fish
  • Snowflake Eel
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Speckled Trout
  • Spinner Shark
  • Spiny Dogfish
  • Sponge
  • Spotted Gar
  • Spotted Garden Eel
  • Squirrelfish
  • Starfish
  • Stargazer Fish
  • Steelhead Salmon
  • Stingray
  • Stonefish
  • Stoplight Loosejaw
  • Striped Bass
  • Sturgeon
  • Suckerfish
  • Surgeonfish
  • Swai Fish
  • Swordfish
  • Taimen Fish
  • Tang
  • Tarpon
  • Telescope Fish
  • Tetra
  • Thornback Ray
  • Thresher Shark
  • Tiger Muskellunge (Muskie)
  • Tiger Shark
  • Tiger Trout
  • Tire Track Eel
  • Toadfish
  • Triggerfish
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Uaru Cichlid
  • Urechis unicinctus (Penis Fish)
  • Viper Shark (dogfish)
  • Viperfish
  • Wahoo Fish
  • Walking Catfish
  • Walleye Fish
  • Wels Catfish
  • Whale Shark
  • White Bass
  • White Catfish
  • White Crappie
  • White Sturgeon
  • Whiting
  • Wolf Eel
  • Wolffish
  • Wrasse
  • Wrought Iron Butterflyfish
  • Xingu River Ray
  • Xiphactinus
  • Yellow Bass
  • Yellow Bullhead Catfish
  • Yellow Perch
  • Yellow Tang
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Yellowtail Snapper
  • Zebra Pleco
  • Zebra Shark
  • Zebrafish (Zebra Fish)


Q: What are fish?

Ans: Fish are aquatic vertebrates with gills for respiration, and fins for locomotion, and typically have scales covering their bodies.

Q: How many fish species are there?

Ans: Fish vertebrates are over 30,000 known species of fish, and new ones are still being discovered.

Q: What is the largest fish in the world?

Ans: The whale shark holds the title of the largest fish, capable of growing up to 60 feet (18 meters) in length.

Q: Are all fish cold-blooded?

Ans: Yes, fish are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature is regulated by their surroundings.

Q: How do fish breathe underwater?

Ans: fish vertebrates extract oxygen from water through their gills, where oxygen diffuses into their bloodstream.

Q: Can fish see in the dark?

Ans: Some fish have adaptations for low-light conditions, but most rely on their other senses like the lateral line and keen sense of smell.


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