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Why Do Fish Have Scales?

Biology | 6-14 yrs | Interactive, Learning Pod

Fish have scales for many reasons. Firstly, to protect the skin of the fish from attacks from predators, parasites and other injuries. Secondly, scales overlap each other in the same way that an armour would protect a person. Hence, providing a layer of protection for the fish. Lastly, they provide a hydrodynamic purpose and reduce water resistance when the fish is swimming.

Different types of fish scales

Different fish have different kinds of scales. Such as –

  1. Pinecone Fish :- This fish has large and thick scales that overlap each other to make it look like a pine cone.
  2. Porcupine Fish :-This fish raises its spines when an enemy approaches.
  3. Trunkfish :- This fish’s scale cover most parts of the body and is very hard. A trunkfish therefore can only move its eyes, mouth, fins and tail.
  4. Shark :- A shark has small pointed scales that are like teeth

Scales can show how old a fish is?

Rings on every scale can tell us about a fish’s age.

Are there any fish that don’t have scales?

The catfish and the lamprey do not have scales.

Skin and scales of fishes

  • Fish have two layers of skin. The epidermis, which is the outer layer, secretes mucus like substances that protects the fish’s skin from bacteria and fungi.
  • The dermis forms the inner layer of its skin and is made of a tough bony material.

Project –

  • Go with your mother to the fish market and closely observe how each fish’s scales are different from the other.
  • Name 3 fishes which have colourful scales.
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