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Fish information

Ichthyology (the branch of zoology that deals with fishes) is a difficult branch of natural history to popularize. It is exceedingly embarrassed with technical terms, and therefore the more difficult to simplify and yet retain the essential points.

For example, Malecopterygii and Malecopterygii subbrachiati are expressive in a scientific view, but unless the reader is familiar with the Greek language they rather perplex than aid him/her in his/her inquiries.

There are fewer evidences of intelligence in fishes than in air-breathing animals. Their instinctive acts, however, are none the less curious. If they do not border upon reason, they accomplish precisely what results in whatever best conduces to the protection and preservation of the individual. And while the perpetuity of innumerable orders of beings in the sea at first view appears like a matter of chance, it is morally certain that every thing in the mighty deep is regulated by a system of laws as harmonious as those which govern the heavenly spheres!

Fishes have singularly constructed bodies. Though apparently all bones, they have none too many; nor are they thrown together without order. Every bone, straight or crooked, is so artistically placed as to offer the greatest amount of resistance to outward pressure, besides affording attachments for muscular threads by thousands, of different lengths, by which every motion in swimming, sculling, curving, rising, plunging, or lying still, solely and exclusively depends.

A very slight contraction of one fibre after another must take place in rapid succession, and relax just as quickly, or it would be impossible for them to glide so gracefully through the water. The skeleton of any fish, when closely examined, exhibits a system of osseous architecture that quite puts into the background the most complicated framework constructed by man.

All fishes are divided into two families, viz., the bony and the cartilaginous. One has a skeleton tolerably hard and well-developed, particurlarly the spine, ribs, and carnial bones; while the other, as the sharks, for example, are provided with slender, semi-flexible, or cartilaginous bones.