From Hawaii and Mexico to Indonesia, Ecuador, Australia, and countless other exotic locations, millions of snorkelers and SCUBA divers take the plunge every year, in hopes of spotting some of the mind-bogglingly beautiful tropical fish that grace the waters of our world.
Tropical fish like the Mandarin Dragonet, with its brilliant blue body and orange and yellow patterns:
Or the Pompadour Fish with its bright colors and poofy “hair do”:
And don’t forget the Moorish Idol, with its unique top fin and beak-like snout:
With thousands of species, each more beautiful than the last, tropical fish are a study in vibrant colors and amazing patterns. And they’re not just pretty! Your students will enjoy these fun facts about tropical fish:
- Tropical fish don’t have vocal chords, but they can “talk” to each other through groans, grunts, whistles, wails, and other amazing sounds made by pressing their muscles against their swim bladders (the part that keeps them afloat) or by grinding their teeth together.
- There can be millions of fish in a single school—just imagine the line at the cafeteria! Fish form schools to protect themselves from predators, hunt more efficiently, and to swim more easily. They stay in their spot in line using their “lateral line”, which helps them detect vibrations in the water.
- An electric shock from an electric eel or ray could kill a horse! Rays produce an electric shock ranging from 8-220 volts. The outlets in our homes provide roughly 120 volts, for reference.
- Yum, yum! Tropical fish have taste buds all over their bodies. Catfish have over 27,000 taste buds each!
- Fish need oxygen, too! If the water they’re swimming in doesn’t contain enough, fish can actually drown.
- An untreated sting from a stone fish can kill a person in a matter of hours. A sting causes intense pain, severe swelling, difficulty breathing, fainting, paralyses, and even death.
- Scientists have identified more than 70 different types of Rainbow Fish! Rainbow Fish are omnivores, so they’ll eat just about anything, but they prefer mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and shrimp.
- There are still millions of undiscovered species living in our oceans just waiting to be found and studied by future scientists—maybe even some of your students!
Turn your classroom into an undersea grotto, including colorful tropical fish, without the hassle of taking care of an aquarium! Our Fanciful Fish project is a great cross-curricular science activity. Students will study a variety of tropical fish, then cut, color, and stuff one of their very own, using vibrant Crayola crayons, colored pencils, and window crayons on black paper.
View the complete lesson plan for this project, including step-by-step directions and a materials list, today!
For Grades 3-6.