Fish Glossary

Fish Anatomy

Adipose Fin
Rayless fin on the midline of the fish's back, between the dorsal and caudal fins.
 
Anadromous
Ascending rivers from the sea for breeding.
 
Anal Fin
The fin on the underside of a fish, nearest to the tail.
 
Annulus
Ringlike markings on the scales (or spines and vertebrae) of a fish that are used to determine age.
 
Anterior
Placed on or near the head or front of an animal, the opposite of posterior.
 
Barbel
A slender, flexible projection near the mouth of certain fish. It is used for smell and taste.
 
Body Depth
The measurement of a fish from top to bottom (backbone to belly).
 
Branchiostegal Rays
The bones that support the gill membranes.
 
Carnivorous
Feeding on animal tissue.
 
Caudal Fin
The tail fin.
 
Caudal Peduncle
The part of a fish's body located between the anal fin and the beginning of the caudal fin.
 
Cleithrum
The large bone that extends from the base of the pectoral fin and forms the posterior edge of the gill chamber. This bone is used to determine the age of some fish (for example, muskies and northern pike) because each year the fish's body adds a new layer of bone.
 
Crustaceans
A group of mostly aquatic animals that have an exterior skeleton and antennae; some
examples of crustaceans include shrimps, lobsters, crabs, and water fleas.
 
Dorsal
Placed on or near the back of an animal, especially on the backbone. It is the opposite
of ventral.
 
Dorsal Fin
The fin or fins on the top (dorsal) side of a fish. Some fish (like trout) have only one
dorsal fin. Others (like sculpin) have two dorsal fins.
 
Food Chain
An arrangement of organisms in an ecosystem whereby the "bottom" level of
organisms are eaten by the next higher level, which themselves are eaten by the next
higher level, and so on.
 
Fry
Newly-hatched young fish.
 
Gill Cover
The bones of the fish's head that cover the gills.
 
Gill Filaments
The threadlike structures connected to the gill arches, used for respiration.
 
Gill Rakers
Comblike projections that extend from the gill arches.

Hypural Notch
The place on a fish's body between where its backbone ends and its tail begins.
 
Lateral Line
A row of pores on the side of a fish's body that open into tubes containing organs that
are sensitive to low vibrations.
 
Lateral Line Canal System
A pressure- and sound-sensitive tubular system found in most fish. It consists of the pored openings on the head and lateral line.
 
Length, Standard
The total length of a fish from head to tail, not including the tail.
 
Length, Total
The total length of a fish from head to tail, including the tail. Measurements are usually
given in total length, unless stated otherwise.
 
Mandible
The lower jaw.
 
Mandibular Pores
Small sensory openings on the underside of the lower jaw (mandible).
 
Maxillary
The upper jaw (especially the lateral bones).
 
Opercle (or Operculum)
The large bone that serves as the covering of the gills of a fish.
 
Opercular Membrane
The thin membrane along the posterior edge of the gill cover.
 
Origin
The point at which the part of the fin nearest the head meets the fish's body.
 
Otolith
An ear stone (or calcareous concretion) in the inner ear of a bony fish. Each year, a new concretion (layer of bone) is added, which can be used to measure age.
 
Pectoral Fins
Fins located directly behind the head of the fish. They come in pairs.
 
Pelvic Fin
A set of fins on the underside (belly) of a fish that are usually placed between the
pectoral fins and anal fin.
 
Posterior
Placed near or on the tail or end of an animal, opposite of anterior.
 
Rays
Flexible supports for a fin.
 
Scales
Small, flat plates that fit together to form the external body covering of a fish.
 
Sensory Pores
The tubular openings found in the lateral line canal system.
 
Spawn
To produce or deposit eggs; as a noun, spawn refers to the eggs of aquatic animals like
fish or amphibians.
 
Stocking
Adding fish to a body of water, such as a lake, pond, or stream.
 
Sucking Disk
The extended mough region (usually armed with rasping teeth) of an adult lamprey.
 
Swim Bladder
A sac containing gas and air, present in the upper part of the body cavity, that aids in creating buoyancy and in the respiration of some fishes. (Also called an "air bladder.")
 
Tributary
A stream or river that flows into a larger stream or river or into a lake.
 
Upwelling
The process by which colder, deeper water is brought to the surface.
 
Ventral
Placed near or on the belly or lower surface of an animal, opposite of dorsal.
 
Vermiculations
Wormlike irregular or wavy lines.


Copyright, 1998, by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Copyright of all the ariticles & images used in this page are reserved by the original author.


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