Interesting Fish Facts
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Some interesting facts about fish:
  • Fish have been on the earth for more than 450 million years.

  • Fish were well established long before dinosaurs roamed the earth.

  • There are over 25,000 identified species of fish on the earth.

  • It is estimated that there may still be over 15,000 fish species that have not yet been identified.

  • There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined.

  • 40% of all fish species inhabit fresh water, yet less than .01% of the earth's water is fresh water.

  • The spotted climbing perch is able to absorb oxygen from the air and will crawl overland using its strong pectoral fins.

  • Some fish like sharks don't posses an air bladder to help keep them afloat and must either swim continually or rest on the bottom.

  • Some fish make sounds by grating their teeth and others like some catfish make sounds from their air filled swim bladder.

  • Some species of fish can fly (glide) others can skip along the surface and others can even climb rock.

  • Fish have a specialized sense organ called the lateral line which works much like radar and helps them navigate in dark or murky water.

  • The largest fish is the great whale shark which can reach fifty feet in length.

  • The smallest fish is the Philippine goby that is less than 1/3 of an inch when fully grown.

  • Some species of fish have skeletons made only of cartilage.

  • Fish have excellent senses of sight, touch, taste and many possess a good sense of smell and 'hearing'.

  • Fish feel pain and suffer stress just like mammals and birds.

  • Tropical fish are one of the most popular pets in the U.S.

  • 95% of tropical fish mortality results from improper housing and nutrition.

  • Many tropical fish sold in the United States are harvested from the wild in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

 
References and Further Reading

Bailey, M; Burgess, P. Tropical Fishlopedia. Howell Books, New York, NY; 2000.

Burgess, P; Bailey, M; and Exell, A. A-Z of Tropical Fish. Howell, New York, NY; 1998.

Burgess, WE; Axelrod, HR; Hunziker III, RE. Dr. Burgess's Mini Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ; 1997.

Alderton, D. The Complete Guide to Tropical Aquarium Fish Care Howell Books, New York, NY; 1998.

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Reprinted from PetEducation.com.