Fish are a group of craniates that live in water.

Fish are usually streamlined in shape, so that they can move through water rapidly.

If a fish has limbs, the limbs are usually in the form of fins.

Many fish have scales.

Most species of fish are oviparous (lay eggs) and practice external fertilization - the male fertilizes the eggs when they are outside the female's body.

There are some species of fish that practice internal fertilization and some species that are viviparous - the young develop inside the body of the female.

Some fish are ovoviviparous - the eggs develop inside the mother's body and the young that are growing inside the egg are nourished by an egg yolk.

Yellow perchMost fish breathe through gills throughout their lives. They use their gills to filter dissolved oxygen from the water.

Some fish, such as lungfish, can breathe oxygen that is in the air.

Fish are usually cold-blooded (ectothermic) but some fish, such as tuna, swordfish and mackerel sharks, are able to regulate the temperature in parts of their bodies.

Classification of Fish

Fish are divided between jawless fish (Agnatha) and jawed fish.

Jawless fish include lampreys (Hyperoartia) which are vertebrates, and hagfish (Hyperotreti or Myxini), which are not vertebrates.

Hagfish are craniates but not vertebrates. They have skulls, like all craniates, but they do not have backbones.

All jawed fish are vertebrates.

There are two kinds of jawed fish: cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes) and bony fish (Osteichthyes).

Cartilaginous fish include sharks, rays, chimeras and sawfish.

The bony fish are themselves divided into two groups: the ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii) and the lobe-finned fish.

Most fish are ray-finned fish.

Lobe-finned fish have fleshy lobes at the base of their fins. These fleshy lobes have the same structure as the limbs of tetrapods and can move in the same way as the limbs of tetrapods.

The only lobe-finned fish alive today are lungfish and coelacanths.

Tetrapods and lobe-finned fish share a common ancestor.

Together, lobe-finned fish and tetrapods are known as the clade Sarcopterygii.

A clade is a group of organisms that share a common ancestor.

The jawed fish and the tetrapods make up the clade of jawed vertebrates, which is also known as Gnathostomata.

In folk taxonomy, the word "fish" has often been used to describe any animal that lives in water.

For example, edible mollusks that live in water, such as clams, are sometimes called shellfish.

In the past, people have classified whales as fish, even though they are tetrapods and mammals.

1 Bony Fish 8685
2 Cartilaginous Fish – Sharks and Rays 5720
3 Coelacanths 4387
4 Gasterosteiformes – Sticklebacks and Seahorses 2059
5 Goliath Tigerfish 9400
6 Gouramis 3898
7 Hagfish 6334
8 Handfish 2840
9 Jawed Fish 5577
10 Jawfish 3177
11 Jawless Fish 17608
12 Lampreys 8677
13 Lateral Line 1648
14 Lobe-Finned Fish – Lungfish and Coelacanths 3862
15 Lungfish 7129
16 Ray-Finned Fish 6196