Fun Facts About Fishes!

A catfish swims, looking towards the camera.

If you spend much time on sanctuary grounds, you likely know that residents have complex and fascinating personalities and quirks. However, while fishes are exploited both within the pet trade and agricultural industry, there are few sanctuaries set up to properly care for fishes so you likely haven’t seen many, if any, in that setting. Because many folks have likely never met individuals living out their lives in sanctuary before, we have created a series of resources compiling fun and fascinating facts about residents to share with supporters and the general public. Fishes are amazing beings who deserve to be better known!

10 Fun Facts About Fishes

  1. First, let’s bust the myth that fishes have super short memories. A number of studies support the fact that fishes actually have great memories. In one such study, rainbow fishes exhibited the ability to recall specific routes a year after they had been introduced to them, even though they hadn’t been around them for the interim.
  2. Fishes can also use their good memories to navigate complex mazes!
  3. Did you know that fishes learn from each other and important information can actually be passed down through generations? Basically, one family of fishes can have cultural traditions (certain behaviors, feeding techniques, preferred locations etc..) unique to their family that is passed along to the next generation and so on.
  4. Fishes have preferences in who they hang out with! When presented with the option to hang out with new fishes or fishes they had previously been introduced too, they choose to hang out with their known peers.
  5. Fishes communicate with one another through a variety of ways, depending on the species. Some use sound, movement, color, smell, and bioluminescence. Some even use electrical impulses! Fishes may seem different but they have rich experiences and lives and much of this is facilitated by how they communicate with others.
  6. Fishes talk?! Well, depending on the species, fishes may rub bones together, grind teeth, vibrate their swim bladder, or flex their muscles a certain way to make noise and communicate specific things to others.
  7. Some species of fishes even use tools. Really! Certain species, like the black spotted tuskfish have been observed using rocks as a sort of anvil upon which to open mollusk shells.
  8. Did you know fishes can get the blues? It is true. There have been a number of studies that have revealed that fishes can have a glass half full-glass half empty approach to new experiences, depending on their previous ones.
  9. Many fishes have a great sense of spatial awareness. Think of having a map in your head of the layout of your house. Many fishes have the same. Of course, their home area looks a little different! 
  10. Smile! We also know that at least some fishes can recognize and remember different human faces.

Hopefully this gives you and your visitors a better idea about the complex and fascinating lives of fishes. Did you find any of these fun facts surprising? Or would you like to see a verified fun fish fact added to this list? Let us know!

Fun Facts About Fishes Infographic

Looking to share this information in an accessible way with other sanctuaries and supporters? Check out and share our infographic below!


Fun Facts About Fish 2 by Amber D Barnes

SOURCES:

How Do Fish Communicate With Each Other? | Science ABC

Fish Tool Use Documented in the Wild – (2016) | Nature Documentaries.org (Non-Compassionate Source)

Are Fish Far More Intelligent Than We Realize? | Vox (Non-Compassionate Source)

Fish Have Feelings, Too | NOVA (Non-Compassionate Source)

Breakups Really Suck, Even If You’re A Fish | Vox (Non-Compassionate Source)

Fish Can Recognize Human Faces, Study Shows | Science Daily (Non-Compassionate Source)

Non-Compassionate Source?
If a source includes the (Non-Compassionate Source) tag, it means that we do not endorse that particular source’s views about animals, even if some of their insights are valuable from a care perspective. See a more detailed explanation here

Updated on August 11, 2021

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