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Fish Species Identification

 Submitted by Michael Adams on August 3, 2010

Fish breeding is fast becoming a popular hobby and a number of the enthusiasts are looking much closer at the natural habitats of a number of various species of fish along with their feeding habits and environmental preferences. Fish species identification is a specialty that is increasingly in demand because of the fact that there are millions of fish species all over the world, some that are even yet to be discovered. Given the fact that two thirds of the Earth is covered in water gives you an idea of how many different varieties of fish exist.

When it comes to fish species identification there are 6 main groups – the ray finned fish, sharks and rays, chimaeras, lobe finned fishes, lampreys and hagfish. The ray finned fish are undoubtedly the largest and most diverse group of fish with the main trait being a bony skeleton, a swim bladder and highly derived skeleton of the skull and tail. The fish species identification chart will show that the primary external indicator of these fish is the possession of fins that are supported by rays.

The main trait of the shark and rays group of fish is the cartilaginous skeleton as well as the internal fertilization, placoid scales and serial replacement of teeth. These fish also do not possess lungs or a gas bladder but do have large bladders, a spiral valve intestine and buoyant livers. The fish of this group that do have dorsal fins and spines, have rather rigid ones that cannot be folded.

The chimaeras are a group of fish that have claspers in males and no gas bladder with large buoyant livers and a spiral valve intestine. This group of fish is known to lay eggs that are large with a horn rimmed outer layer. The skin in the adult females is naked except for the small dermal denticles along the midline of the back and on the claspers of the males. The fish that are part of this classification that have a dorsal fin have a poison laden one that is erectable. Any fish species identification guide shows the fish that are part of the lobe finned fish show that all members share a common ancestor with tetrapods and are characterized by paired fins. The lambrey group of fish is known for the distinct lack of jaws while the hagfish are noticeable for the lack of complete eyes.
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