Home Fish Facts Is a Fish a Carnivore? (Quick Read)

Is a Fish a Carnivore? (Quick Read)

by gvald

Most fish hunt, some at night, others during the day. Some use special capture devices: lures such as the anglerfish’s fishing line, poisonous stings such as in the livebait, electric organs such as in the torpedo.


The teeth of the fish, generally directed towards the back, are only used to retain the prey. Some fish, like the paddlefish, use their molars to crush. Others, like sauperfish, use their incisors to cut.


In this way, most fish on earth are carnivorous, but there are of course exceptions (like herbivorous fish) that are important!


Are all fish carnivorous?

Most fish are carnivores. Only a few species, such as the saupe, feed on algae (these are herbivorous fish). Fish do not have a well defined diet. They eat the most abundant organisms in the environment where they live. Generally the prey change during the growth.


Thus, the larval fish feeds exclusively on plankton. The juvenile fish looks for mollusks, which are a bit bigger. The adult eats preferably crustaceans, mollusks, fish eggs and larvae or adult fish.


What are carnivorous fish called?

A carnivore is the name given to a carnivorous freshwater fish. Like all predators, carnivores hunt by ambushing in areas that offer them the best chance of catching their prey. Knowing how to identify these areas will allow you to locate predators and fish them better.


What are the most common carnivorous fish?

1. The pike

The pike is without doubt one of the best known carnivores. It is generally characterized by a slender body with a color ranging from green to gray. Covered with golden spots, its belly is of a whitish color. Behind its body and much closer to the caudal fin, are its ventral and dorsal fins. On the other hand, when fishing for pike, it is advisable to use a strong steel or fluoro leader.


Pike have a very powerful jaw. And its mouth is full of several hundred sharp teeth. So, it is important to take precautions to avoid probable incidents.


2. The perch/zander

The zander is a carnivore that belongs to the family of percidae, like the perch. It prefers to stay in the shadows and therefore in depth. But to get it, you just have to look early in the morning or in the evening before the night.


On the other hand, it is a carnivorous fish which presents a beautiful physique. Indeed, its dress is made of several silver scales. Its back, in turn, is composed of two large fins. It should also be noted that this fish is really powerful.


Since, its caudal and pectoral fins are also of a big size. This gives it a great maneuverability and an enormous power. Its jaw, in its turn, is strewn with four canines of consequent sizes. But this type of fish will not cause too much trouble to fishermen, because its teeth cannot break the line as the pike would.


3. Catfish

The catfish is a relatively long fish. It can reach almost 3m and weigh up to 130 kilos. These characteristics can be easily understood if we look at its diet. The catfish generally feeds on fish and is what we call an “opportunistic” fish.


However, it could consume between 2 to 3 times its weight per year. This amount can increase with a juvenile catfish. For, the latter can consume 3 to 5 times its weight. It is therefore a generally impressive fish whose fishing is really sportive because of its size and weight.


4. The black bass

Native to North America, the black bass is a carnivore that belongs to the Centrarchidae family. It is a fish that generally has an oval body. Its head represents the third of its length. It usually attacks very large prey. This is due to its protruding lower jaw and its widely slit mouth.


In addition, the black bass exists under several species of which one of the most known is the small mouth black bass. These are fish whose diet is not mainly composed of fish.


What are the other types of fish?

Fish that feed on plants are called “herbivores”. Among the herbivorous fishes of coral reefs, we find parrotfish, damselfish, sigans, nasons and surgeonfish. Some herbivores are less easy to observe, because they are small and tend to bury themselves, such as blennies. As for mullets, they are less frequent on coral reefs, but they sometimes form schools over seagrass beds in lagoons and shallow coastal areas.


Plants are primary producers; that is, they produce food directly from light, CO2 and nutrients in the water. Fish and other animals that feed on plants are in turn consumed by carnivorous fish (that feed on fish flesh), such as lutjans, groupers and jacks. Herbivores are an essential link in the food chain, as they provide the link between plants and the important, often larger, fish for human consumption.


In addition, herbivorous fish play a vital role in the health and survival of coral reefs. Since most plants grow faster than coral, they quickly take over any bare surface. Without the presence of herbivores, the algae :

  • Monopolize all available space
  • Grow faster than the coral and deprive it of the light which is essential for it 
  • Damage the coral by rubbing it.

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