Ed Golson Outdoor Education

what are fish?

It seems like a simple question.  Fish are the animals that live in the water, right? Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Some animals that live in the water, like some insects, crayfish, or mudpuppies aren't fish, or even related to fish. To make things scientific, fish are vertebrates - meaning they have a backbone. They breathe by using gills . Most fish have scales, but some don't. Some, like catfish, just have their skin for protection. Others, like the sturgeon, are protected by bony plates, not scales. Some fish, like the lamprey, look a lot more like snakes than fish.  

All fish lay eggs. LOTS of eggs. A single fish can lay thousands of tiny eggs in one day. The female usually lays her eggs in a stream bed, or in a shallow area and then the male comes along and fertilizes them.  This act of laying and fertilizing eggs is called spawning . When the fish hatch from these eggs, they are very small and defenseless. Most don't have any sort of protection from their parents. They also make a tasty treat for all sorts of bigger fish. That means of the thousands of eggs laid, perhaps only a couple will actually survive to adulthood.

 

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