Fishes are beautiful creatures that can mesmerize both children and adults! Their gentle movements, delicate and shiny skin, unique colors, sizes, shapes, and scales make them worth learning about! Fishes are not just for aquariums; there are so many types of fish, small and large, living in the great oceans and lakes. They are an essential part of the lake, river, and oceans since the ecosystem depends on them. If you want a lot more “fish information,” then read on to learn more!
What Are the Various Species of Fish?
There are over 32000 types of fish species living in different kinds of water bodies around the world. A few popular fish species names are:
- Swordfish: Commonly known as broadbills, these are usually predatory fish that migrates a lot each year due to seasonal changes.
- Atlantic Cod: This is a popular type of fish that people hunt for food. The average lifespan of this species of fish is 25 years.
- Mackerel: Present in the temperate and tropical seas around the world, this type of fish lives along the coast and offshore. They are preyed upon by larger mackerel, Atlantic cod, seabirds, sharks, dolphins, whales, and tuna.
- Trout: The rainbow trout lives in the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The fish usually prefer colder currents and sometimes come back to the freshwater bodies to spawn.
- Shark: The Great White Shark is a larger version of the mackerel and lives along the coastal surface waters of the world’s major oceans. Killer whales are their only natural predators.
- Siamese Fighting Fish: Considered to be one of the most beautiful fishes in the world, the Siamese Fighting fish is a very popular type in the aquarium trade. However, they are highly aggressive when it comes to fights because of their highly territorial behaviors.
- Goldfish: These are common freshwater families that are native to East Asia. The scientific name of fish here is Carassius auratus.
- The Northern Pike: This is a carnivorous fish that live in brackish and fresh waters in the Northern Hemisphere that come in beautiful olive green colors with yellow and white shading.
- Guppy: Popularly known as the Million fish, the Guppy is a widely distributed tropical fish famous for its attractive and vibrant colors and patterns on its body.
- Sloane’s Viperfish: When tooth size is compared to the size of the head, this is the fish with the biggest teeth.
Where do They Live?
Fishes are found almost everywhere where there are bodies of water that are deep and large enough. These bodies of water can be high up on the mountains as streams or in the deepest currents of the oceans, from the cold Arctic seas to the warm springs. Around half the species of fishes discovered so far live in freshwater bodies like rivers, lakes, and streams, while the rest live in the oceans and seas. Freshwater fishes tend to stay in the river basin or an inlet, while they live in coral reefs in oceans. However, fishes cannot remain in extremely salty water, and one example of where there is no fish is in the Great Salt Lake present in the western United States.
What do Fish Eat?
The diet of the fish depends on whether it is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. Fishes that are carnivores get most of their energy from eating other animals around them. This can include smaller fishes, insects, and invertebrates like snails, worms, shrimps, and more! The herbivore fishes go for a plant-based diet for their survival. This primarily includes wild plants under water and algae. However, very few fishes are considered herbivores since most fishes depend on a balance between meat and plant. These fishes are called omnivores, and these are the easiest to take care of and keep as pets.
How Long do They Live?
The life expectancy of a fish depends on the species of the fish. Typically, fishes living in the ocean and the seas live longer than fishes in freshwater bodies like rivers and lakes. Some fishes have a year’s life expectancy, while many can live as long as 50 years. There are species of fish that can live for a century! As on average, fishes live for around 20 years.
How do Fish Swim?
Most fishes swim in the water by pushing their body against the fresh or salty water. They can do this due to the presence of a flexible backbone that is lined with powerful, large muscles that allow them to bend their entire body into a curve that resembles an S. The fish first turns in one way and then does it in the other way, and this is done in a wavelike rhythm that passes through its body sequentially. The left and right opposite movements cancel each other out, and this way, fishes tend to move forward.
Whom are The Fishes Afraid of?
Fear in fishes depends on their size, past experiences, and temperament. It also depends on whether the fish is prey or a predator, and this requirement to survive drives its actions. This is why some fishes flee when there is a disturbance in the water while the others swim towards it. Therefore, a prey fish would run from disturbances thinking it’s a potential threat while the predator fishes swim towards the disturbance thinking there is food.
Fish Anatomy for Children
There are over 35000 species of fish globally, and though all of them come in different sizes, shapes, forms, and colors, they all have almost the same body parts. These are:
- Fish Eyes: Fishes have no eyelids, and these always stay open even when they are sleeping. The shape of the eyes of that fish depends on what it feeds on and its habitat. For example, the eyes of a prey fish are present on the sides of their heads, while predators have eyes that are more forward-facing. Some species of fish have a color vision, while some see the world in UV light.
- Mouth: The mouth also varies for different fish species; this depends on how they hunt and their eating habits. They also have different teeth in various shapes, depending on their diet. The location of the teeth also depends on the species of the fish, which one can locate on the jaws, lips, mouth, tongue, and even the throat!
- Gills: Fishes breathe using their gills, unlike all the other mammals. The gills can be divided into three parts- gill filaments, fill arch, and gill rakers. The gill arch supports the gill filaments. These filaments are responsible for the absorption of oxygen from the water, and a continuous passage of the water from the mouth of the fish to the gill and then back will help the fish breathe. Comb-like structures are called gill rankers, and these are responsible for filtering food from the water before it reaches the gills for absorbing oxygen.
- Vertebral column: When compared to other animals, fishes have a more straightforward structure of skeletal system wherein the skeleton protects the organs and supports the connective tissues. The backbone or the vertebral column is made up of smaller bones called vertebrae, and these bones have holes that hold the spinal cord in place. Between the vertebrae, some spaces allow the backbone to bend.
- Fins: These are delicate structures made of minor skin-covered cartilages and tiny bones. The fins are responsible for keeping the body stable while swimming, and in some cases, it also helps in protection. There are two kinds of fins that most fishes have- the pairs and the median. Some fishes use their fins and tails for specific purposes like swimming swiftly or moving quickly in different directions.
- Scales: Scales are present in most fishes to protect their skin. The different types of scales are cycloid, placoid, ganoid, and ctenoid scales.
- Lateral line: Lateral lines are present in most fishes- these are an anatomical structure with holes that goes through the fish’s entire length. The function of a lateral line is to sense vibrations in their immediate surroundings and locate prey, predators, and obstacles.
Other Fun Facts and Information About Fish for Children
A few other fun facts about fishes you might like are:
- Fishes are so social that they can form relationships and interact with one another in their same or different species.
- Fishes do have great memories, and some fishes can even recognize humans that constantly give them food. They can also remember specific musical tunes as well.
- Fishes are known to avoid situations they think will cause them pain and will look for experiences that are advantageous to them. They are also known to use tools when necessary, and an example of this is the usage of rocks to crack open bivalves like mussels, oysters, and clams.
- Though fishes do not have vocal cords, they can still communicate with each other using various methods like scents, sounds, electrical pulses, and more.
- Certain species of fish can migrate highly far distances and reach thousands of kilometers away from their home.
- Most fishes have the ability to change the colors of their body depending on the time of the year, environmental conditions, and other requirements.
- Fishes have smaller sizes of brains when compared to most animals relative to their body size.
Fishes are in abundance in the marine world, and now that you know so much about them, you can easily identify the prey from the predator the next time you go to the aquarium. So, take this information and show off your knowledge to your friends, introducing them to the world of fishes as you do so!