Since we love learning about fish almost as much as we love cooking and eating it, it only naturally follows that we enjoy picking up bits and pieces of information about the creatures of the deep. Just like we’ve already done in the first two installments of this series, we’re about to introduce you to forty fun, obscure, and surprising facts about our sea-dwelling friends.
1. The Man O’ War, one of the most feared poisonous creatures in the ocean, isn’t a species in and of itself. Each specimen is comprised of several different organisms living together symbiotically.
2. The Archerfish gets its name from its ability to shoot down insect prey above the surface of the water using its uniquely-shaped mouth to shoot them down with droplets of water.
3. When in captivity and provided with careful supervision of their environment, a hermit crab can live more than 30 years.
4. There are some crabs that live most of their lives on land. These are called Terrestrial Crabs, but even they need to go to the sea to release their eggs.
5. They may not be very interactive, but both freshwater and saltwater clams can be kept as pets within home aquariums.
6. The Brook Trout (Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Michigan) is the official fish of more states than any other, winning the title in 7 states.
7. An immature fish is called a Fry.
8. While whales, dolphins, and porpoises are all mammals, sharks are fish.
9. Speaking of sharks, of all animals on the planet, the corneas of their eyes are the most similar to those of humans.
10. The Moray Eel has a second set of jaws and teeth within its throat to entrap prey and force it down into its digestive tract.
11. Surstromming, a popular delicacy in Sweden, is widely considered to be the worst smelling fish in the world. It’s basically just fermented Herring.
12. The Paedocypris Progenetica is not only the world’s smallest fish, but is also the smallest vertebrate.
13. Lobsters are among the few creatures that become more fertile with age.
14. Anchovies aren’t the only seafood that appear on pizza. Clams are so popular on New Haven style pizzas that Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana of New Haven has a full-time employee whose sole duty is to shuck clams.
15. Ever wonder how adult clams move? Check out this video:
16. Here’s how to say “fish” in 10 foreign languages: Fisk (Danish), Kala (Estonian), Poisson (French), Fiskur (Icelandic), Fisch (German), Pescado (Spanish), Ryby (Slovak), Balik (Turkish), Samaki (Swahili), and Pysgod (Welsh).
17. The Blue Groper is considered to be the friendliest fish in the sea. Like a dog, they absolutely love to come over to meet new human friends1.
18. The oldest Goldfish on record lived to be 43.
19. The Black Molly, a popular freshwater aquarium fish in the USA, is native to freshwater streams in Mexico.
20. The unusually shaped head of the Hammerhead Shark is known as a cephalofoil.
21. All Crabs are decapods, as they possess 10 legs.
22. A 3-ounce serving of mussels packs 20 grams of protein.
23. The Four-Eyed Fish swims very close to the surface of the water and can see both above and below the surface at the same time.
24. The Filet-o-Fish from McDonald’s was invented in order to provide Catholic customers with a sandwich to eat during Lent. During its trial period, it was tested against the Hula Burger, which consisted of a fried pineapple and slice of cheddar cheese served on a biscuit. While the Hula Burger bombed in America, it is still on the menu in Australia.
25. Like snails, crabs’ eyes are positioned on stalks.
26. Not only is Octopus ink edible, it also makes a delicious marinade for just about any octopus related dish you can come up with. It also makes for a great topping on crusty Italian bread slices or toast points.
27. The official name of the fish symbol used to represent Christianity is called the Ichthys.
28. The top 5 fish-based fast food chains in the United States are Long John Silvers, Ivar’s, Arthur Treachers, Captain D’s and H. Salt Esquire. Unfortunately, most of these are not available in Connecticut, with the exception of Long John Silvers. However, the building that now houses Lens Crafters in Old Saybrook was once an Arthur Treacher’s.
29. While the Great White shark is a fish and not a mammal, it does give birth to live offspring rather than laying eggs.
30. Catfish have four times as many taste buds as humans.
31. A school of fish is actually led by the fish in the middle, not those in front. The outer fish follow the lead of the inner group.
32. The Mantis Shrimp is capable of seeing a wide range of colors that even human eyes cannot detect.
33. Despite their immobility, sea sponges are capable of feeling pain.
34. Ever see one of these in a pet shop? It’s called an Axolotl.
35. Aside from the San Jose Sharks, the Hartford Whalers were the only NHL team whose name was related to a sea-dwelling creature.
36. Shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the United States.
37. The Electric Eel’s shock is powerful enough to kill an animal as large as a horse.
38. Fish Sticks were invented in 1953.
39. While Krill are among the smallest crustaceans, they make up the lion’s share of the diet of some of the largest animals of the sea.
40. The first (and only) prime-time animated television show featuring fish as its main characters was the short-lived 1992 film noir style cartoon Fish Police.
That’s all of the fish facts we have for 2014. If you liked this article, take a look at the first two installments of this series, aptly entitled Forty Fun Fish Facts and Forty More Fun Fish Facts & Seafood Fun Facts.
Out of the Blue, Our Friendliest Fish
The Syndney Morning Herald, December 9, 2012