Back to: Jss2 Agricultural Science (PVS)
Topic: Classification of Fish
Classification of Fish
Classification of Fish refers to the systematic categorization of different fish species based on their shared characteristics and evolutionary relationships. This classification system helps in organizing the vast diversity of fish species and understanding their relationships with one another.
Fish belong to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and subphylum Vertebrata, which means they are animals with a backbone. The classification of fish is typically based on their anatomical features, such as the structure of their skeleton, fins, scales, and gills, as well as their genetic makeup.
Classification of Fish Based on Habitat
Fish can be classified into different groups based on their habitat, which refers to the type of environment in which they live. The four main classifications of fish based on habitat are:
- Freshwater fish: These fish live in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. They have adapted to the specific conditions of these habitats, such as the lower levels of salt and different pH levels.
- Saltwater fish: These fish live in oceans and other saltwater environments such as coral reefs. They are adapted to the higher levels of salt in these habitats, which affects their metabolism, osmoregulation, and other physiological processes.
- Estuarine fish: These fish live in estuaries, which are areas where freshwater from rivers mixes with saltwater from the ocean. Estuarine fish have adapted to the unique conditions of this environment, such as the changing salinity levels and tidal flows.
- Anadromous fish: These fish are born in freshwater environments but spend most of their adult lives in saltwater habitats, returning to freshwater to spawn. Examples of anadromous fish include salmon, sturgeon, and lampreys.
Classification of Fish Based on Morphology
Fish can be classified into different groups based on their morphology or physical characteristics. Here are some of the commonly used classifications based on morphology:
- Jawless fish: These are the most primitive of all fish, and they do not have jaws or paired fins. Examples include lampreys and hagfish.
- Cartilaginous fish: These fish have a skeleton made of cartilage instead of bone. They also have jaws, paired fins, and streamlined bodies. Examples include sharks, rays, and chimaeras.
- Bony fish: These are the most diverse group of fish and have a skeleton made of bone. They have jaws, paired fins, and a swim bladder to help them control their buoyancy. Bony fish can be further classified into two main groups:
- Ray-finned fish: These fish have fins supported by bony rays. Examples include salmon, trout, tuna, and the most common fish.
- Lobe-finned fish: These fish have fins that are supported by a series of fleshy lobes. The coelacanth is the only living species of lobe-finned fish, while lungfish are another example of this group that is considered a “living fossil.”
- Teleost fish: This is the largest group of bony fish and includes most of the fish that people commonly think of, such as goldfish, catfish, and bass. They have a specialized jaw structure that allows them to suck in food.
- Cyclostomes: These are jawless fish with circular mouth that uses suction to attach to prey. They lack scales and paired fins. Examples include lampreys and hagfish.
Other Types of Aquatic Organisms
Crustaceans are a group of arthropods that are mostly aquatic and have a hard exoskeleton, jointed limbs, and two pairs of antennae. Some common examples of crustaceans are shrimp, crayfish, crabs, and lobsters.
- Shrimps are small, slender crustaceans that live in both freshwater and saltwater environments. They are an important source of food for humans and are often used in seafood dishes.
- Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that resemble miniature lobsters. They are found in streams, rivers, and lakes and are also commonly used as a food source.
- Crabs are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments and have a hard exoskeleton and two claws. They are a popular seafood item and are also commonly kept as pets.
- Lobsters are large, clawed crustaceans that are typically found in cold ocean waters. They are highly valued for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that are characterized by a soft body and usually have a hard shell. Some common examples of molluscs include clams, octopuses, oysters, periwinkles, and squid.
- Clams are bivalve molluscs that are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. They have a hard, two-part shell and are often used in seafood dishes.
- Octopuses are cephalopod molluscs that have eight arms and no external shell. They are highly intelligent and are known for their ability to change colour and texture to blend in with their surroundings.
- Oysters are bivalve molluscs that are found in saltwater environments. They have a hard, irregularly shaped shell and are often used as a food item, particularly in raw oyster dishes.
- Periwinkles are small, cone-shaped gastropod molluscs that are found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. They are often used as bait for fishing.
- Squids are cephalopod molluscs that have a soft body and a long, tubular shape. They are often used as food items and are also commonly used as bait for fishing.
Vertebrates are animals that have a backbone or spinal column. There are three major groups of vertebrates: mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
- Mammals are a group of vertebrates that are characterized by the presence of hair or fur, mammary glands, and the ability to regulate their own body temperature. Some common examples of mammals are whales and dolphins, which are aquatic mammals that are highly adapted to life in the water.
- Whales are the largest animals on Earth and are found in all of the world’s oceans. They are highly adapted to life in the water and have a streamlined body shape, a thick layer of blubber for insulation, and the ability to hold their breath for extended periods of time.
- Dolphins are also aquatic mammals that are found in all of the world’s oceans. They are highly intelligent and social animals that are often used in entertainment and research. Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that are characterized by scaly skin, the ability to lay eggs, and the ability to regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun or seeking shade.
- Some common examples of reptiles are snakes, crocodiles, and turtles.
Snakes are elongated, legless reptiles that are found in a wide variety of habitats, from deserts to forests. They are carnivorous and use their highly developed sense of smell to locate prey.
Crocodiles are large, predatory reptiles that are found in freshwater and saltwater habitats. They have a powerful bite and are considered
ADAPTIVE FEATURES OF FISHES
Fishes have a variety of adaptive features that help them survive in their aquatic environments. Here are 15 adaptive features of fishes and their explanations:
- Scales: Scales provide a protective layer to fish, helping them to resist injury and infection.
- Gills: Gills are specialized organs that enable fishes to extract oxygen from water. Fishes breathe by passing water over their gills, which extract oxygen and release carbon dioxide.
- Swim bladder: A swim bladder is an organ that helps fish control their buoyancy. By regulating the amount of air in the bladder, fish can adjust their position in the water column.
- Fins: Fins provide fish with manoeuvrability and stability. Different types of fins serve different functions, such as propulsion, steering, and braking.
- Lateral line system: The lateral line system is a network of sensory cells that runs along the sides of a fish’s body. This system enables fishes to detect vibrations and pressure changes in the water, helping them to locate prey and avoid predators.
- Countercurrent exchange: Fishes use the countercurrent exchange to extract oxygen from water efficiently. Blood flows in the opposite direction to water flowing over the gills, allowing fishes to extract the maximum amount of oxygen from each breath.
- Camouflage: Fishes use a variety of colours and patterns to blend into their surroundings, making it harder for predators to spot them.
- Electric fields: Some fishes generate electric fields that help them to navigate and communicate in murky waters.
- Bioluminescence: Some fishes produce light using bioluminescence, allowing them to attract prey or communicate with other fishes.
- Mucus coating: Fishes secrete a layer of mucus that protects them from parasites and pathogens, and helps to reduce drag as they swim.
- Jet propulsion: Some fishes use jet propulsion to move rapidly through the water. By expelling water through a specialized cavity, they can achieve high speeds with minimal effort.
- Pectoral fins: Pectoral fins provide lift and manoeuvrability for fish, allowing them to turn and pivot quickly in tight spaces.
- Suction feeding: Many fishes use suction feeding to capture prey. By rapidly expanding their mouth cavity, they create a low-pressure area that sucks in water and any prey caught in it.
- Osmoregulation: Fishes must maintain a balance of salt and water in their bodies. They use specialized cells and organs to regulate the concentration of salts and other molecules, allowing them to survive in both freshwater and saltwater environments.
- Temperature regulation: Fishes are cold-blooded animals, meaning their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding water. Some fishes have specialized adaptations, such as counter-current heat exchange, to maintain a stable body temperature in cold waters.