Fish are fascinating creatures that inhabit the world’s lakes, rivers, and oceans – not to mention the tanks at aquariums and in our homes. The underwater world is an incredible one that is full of fish that vary in shape, size, color, and behavior. In this blog post, you’ll discover five fun and intriguing facts about fish. Let’s dive right in!
1. There’s More Than One Electric Fish
One of the most well-known facts about the electric eel is that it produces electricity. It’s quite literally in the name. But what many don’t realize is that the electric eel, though undoubtedly magnificent and a true marvel to behold, is not unique in its electrogenesis (the ability to generate electric pulses).
Like the notorious electric eel and its three species, a handful of very special fish breeds are able to produce electric pulses and discharge them outwards to either stun their prey, communicate with their fellow fish, navigate their way through murky waters, or a bit of all three.
These include the electric catfish and its 21 species, the electric ray and its 69 species, and the Astroscopus and the Uranoscopus from the Stargazer fish family. You may be tempted to include one of these shocking additions to your aquarium, but unfortunately, electric fish are extremely complex creatures that require expert care.
2. Plenty of Fish can Change Color
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the chameleon is alone in its incredible ability to change colors, but it’s not. In fact, many animals are capable of changing their colors – and most of them are fish!
Color changes in fish are usually caused by environmental stress, the need to camouflage, and changes in mood or temperature. Examples of fish that can change colors include:
- Flamboyant cuttlefish
- Giant cuttlefish
- Flashing tilefish
- Corkwing wrasse
- Mimic octopus
- Peacock flounder
- Peacock cichlid
- Scrawled filefish
- Tasseled anglerfish
3. Some Fish Can Sing
While animal singing is typically associated with the calls of beautiful exotic birds and the chirps of cheerful crickets, did you know that some fish can also carry a tune? Enter the croaker fish! These fish can emit a distinct croaking sound by vibrating their swim bladder, which is a gas-filled organ that helps with buoyancy.
The noise made by the croaker fish is similar to the sound a drum makes. These unique vocalizations are used for communication, attracting mates, and marking their territory. Other fish that can sing include the batfish, the black jewfish, croaking gourami, oyster toadfish, and clownfish.
Of course, an aquatic creature that is famous for its singing ability is the whale. The humpback whale and the blue whale (which is the world’s largest whale) are known for their hauntingly beautiful whale songs.
4. There’s a Fish with Human Teeth
What kind of facts list would this be if there wasn’t at least one fact that makes you squirm or do a double-take? There’s a fish with human-like chompers swimming around out there! And no, this strange creature is not found lurking about the deep seas, but in the coastal waters of the western Atlantic.
Meet Archosargus probatocephalus, also known as the sheepshead fish or the convict fish. This strange fish sports several rows of stubby teeth that look just like human teeth. Yikes.
These specialized teeth are used for grinding the hardshell prey the sheepshead fish eats, which includes barnacles, clams, crabs, oysters, and other crustaceans. As this funny fish gets older, its teeth continue to grow along with it to ensure it can continue eating its preferred diet even into old age.
5. There are Trillions of Fish
You’ve heard the saying ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea’. And by now, after reading all about fish that have human teeth, and fish that can shock, sing, and color-change, you should have a pretty good idea that fish are abundant out there. But discovering just how many fish there are in the waters of the world is an incredible feat.
There are upwards of 33,000 different fish species that we know of, and it’s estimated that around 3.5 trillion fish are living in the ocean alone. What’s important to understand is that due to the vastness of the Earth’s oceans and the fact that a measly 20% of it has been explored, this number is likely to be a great understatement.
About 200 to 300 new fish are discovered, named, and studied each year. It’s thought that there are around 15,000 fish species out there just waiting to be identified. With so many undiscovered and unknown species of fish out there, who knows how many of them would end up on a list just like this one?