Marine Scotland: fishy facts

Do whales have belly buttons? How many teeth does a haddock have? Are there any fish that eat people?

These are just some of the questions that you'll find answers to.

This document is part of a collection

  • How many different kinds of fish there are in the ocean? It's difficult to be exact, but there are over 32,000
  • How many dolphins are there? And how many species? There are about 30 dolphins species and 1000s and 1000s around the world
  • How many fish are caught in the UK each year? Around 606,000 tonnes are caught in the UK and two thirds of that amount - 404,000 tonnes - is caught in Scotland
  • How many species of jellyfish are in the sea around Scotland? There are about 350 known species, but there could be many more - up to 2,000
  • How many species of whales? About 80
  • How many types of fish live in the great barrier reef? Lots! Between about 1,500 and 2,000
  • How can you tell the age of a sea creature? How do you know how old a fish is? For fish we use a bone from the ear which has rings like those in a tree with two rings per year. We count many ear bones every year
  • Which fish lays the largest eggs? The eggs of the pike fish are the largest. From each egg, there can be more than 3,500 little fish children
  • Which fish has the smallest eggs? Some of the smallest eggs belong to the sevrgua - a type of sturgeon fish
  • What is the biggest fish you can find in the Ocean and how big is it? Whales, and specifically the blue whale, is the largest animal on the planet.  They grow up to 30 metres.  They have a heart the size of a small car and some of their blood vessels are the size of pipes taking water away from your gu
  • How small is the smallest fish in the Ocean and what are they called? One of the smallest fish is the tiny goby from the Philippines, which is about half an inch long at adulthood
  • What's the largest fish in the River Clyde? A Basking shark
  • What's the longest fish ever caught? An Oar fish at about 12 metres             
  • What is the most common fish in the sea? Any of the several species of Cyclothone, a deepwater fish sometimes called a "bristle mouth." Rarely visible at depths that man can readily reach, the fish is about the size of a small minnow. It is netted at 500 metres or deeper all over the world.
  • What is the most dangerous animal in the sea? There are a few - Lionfish, stonefish, sea urchins, cat fish, box jellyfish and, of course, sharks
  • What is the most colourful fish? You find some of the most colourful fish abroad. Fish like the mandarin dragonet, reef triggerfish and the six bar wrasse are all very colourful
  • What type of fish can live the longest? How long has the oldest fish lived for? Fish can live for a few weeks or months (some of the small reef fish) to 50 years or more (sturgeons). On average though, species live 10 to 20 years in temperate waters
  • What is the fastest swimming fish? Fish can swim quite fast, some can swim at around 22 miles per hour although they can have a burst of speed more than twice that. Some fish also travel fast when they leap out of the water.
  • What is the fastest marine animal? A marlin or sword fish            
  • Which fish has the biggest teeth? Relative to its head size, the fish with the largest teeth is Sloan's viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) which has teeth so large it must open its mouth to make the jaws vertical before it can swallow prey. When the mouth is closed, the teeth overlap the jaws. Sloan's viperfish is approximately 28 cm (11 in) long. Its head is about 2 cm (0.8 in) and its teeth are just over half this length.
  • What is the most intelligent sea animal? Are fish intelligent? Dolphins and octopuses are among the most intelligent. The smartest fish is a barracuda
  • What is the weirdest fish in the world? Hmm. Tricky. The blobfish, the axolotl and the frilled shark are amongst some of the most weird
  • How large was the first sea creature discovered? What was it? The Earth is thought to be about 4.5 billion years old (where a billion is a thousand million), and life evolved around 3.5 billion years ago – probably in the sea. The first organisms were probably rather like some of the modern bacteria, with ‘true’ cells evolving about 2 billion years ago.
  • Which fish is the rarest? In Britain, the Vendace (Coregonus albula) is a small freshwater herring-like fish that has been an inhabitant of deep lochs and lakes in the UK since the Ice Age
  • What depth is the sea? The sea ranges between 50 m and 200 m for the shelf seas and the deeper oceanic waters of more than 2000 m. The continental slope is a transition area between two systems.
  • Which ocean has the most fish in it? Probably the the Pacific Ocean, because it's really big. There are millions of fish!
  • How big is the ocean? It's about about 193 million square miles. That's quite big!



Marine Scotland
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1B South
Victoria Quay

Telephone: 0300 244 4000


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