What is Ichthyology?

Ichthyology is the branch of science that deals with the study of fishes.  Scientists and researchers in this field described over 32,000 living fish species. This includes bony fish, jawless fish, and cartilaginous fish. Continuous research in this field gives a countable number of new species every year. According to Fish base, 33,400 species of fish were described till October 2016, which includes 250 new species. The study of Ichthyology is known as Ichthyologist. Ichthyologists study the fishes from all aspects like anatomy, behavior, their interaction with other organisms, and the environment of fishes. Ichthyologists focus the fishes from a variety of areas, which includes behavioral ecology, fish movements, reproductive ecology, food web interactions, evolutionary ecology, population dynamics, fisheries stock assessments, conservation ecology, and fisheries policy. Many Ichthyologists work in their specialized field with a specific species of interest.  Ichthyologists usually use a wide variety of approaches from molecular biology to physiology to closely monitor the fishes. 

History of Ichthyology

People are curious to know more about fishes even thousands of years ago. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-32BC) came across different kinds of fishes that are related to each other. Early days, people didn't have submarines or SCUBA tanks to explore the underground world. This is what is the study of fish called Ichthyology. Until the end of the 19th century, more attention for describing and classifying fish on different aspects. Charles Gilbert studied salmon in the pacific ocean.  Gilbert was the first person to study salmon, as it is a dangerous species. By the end of the first half of the twentieth century, oceanography had the ability to conduct underwater observations.  Later, the technology started developing and helped the researchers and divers to move closer and closer to the underwater world. Nowadays, ichthyologists are working in research labs and museums with high-tech fish tanks, diving equipment, and other scientific tools. 

Ichthyology Facts

  1. Fishes are living on earth for more than 450 million years, whereas mammals are living here only for 200 million years.

  2. Still, 15,000 species of fishes are unidentified in the list of 27,000 fishes. 

  3. The list of fishes is high while comparing to all other species. 

  4. Sailfish, Swordfish, and marlin are the fastest fish in the ocean, which can run up to 70kmph 

  5. Rockfish can live over 200 years on earth, Rougheye Rockfish is the longest living fish on earth on the known list. 

  6. Only countable species of sharks are threatening to humans. But over 360 species of sharks are living in the water world. 

  7. Single sunfish may lay 300,000,000 eggs at a single spawning season.

  8. A male Bangaii Cardinalfish held both eggs and babies in its mouth, till it was ready to swim. This process is known as ‘mouth brooding’. This fish won’t take any food till it gets hatched. 

  9. Human beings have only 9000 taste buds, but catfish have more than 27000 taste buds. 

  10. African Lungfish can live up to two years, even without water. It undergoes the hibernation process.  

  11. The oldest goldfish ‘Goldie’ died in 2005 at 45 years of age. Goldfish can live for a decade. 

  12. The whale shark is the world’s largest fish and it is recorded as 12.6 m (41.5 ft) long, had a girth of 7 m (23 ft), and weighed more than 21,500 kg (47,300 lbs). 

  13. The whale shark’s egg is the largest egg of all animals It’s measured at 35.6cm long in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s. 

  14. The largest predator in sharks is the White shark. The largest one caught with the weight of 10,909kgs. 

  15. American Lobster takes approximately seven years to reach one pound of weight. 

  16. Pacific Giant Octopus is the largest octopus in the world. While it was born, it was in ea-size. It will be 9.1m in length and weight of 68.2 kg. 

  17. The giant squid is the backboneless, largest creature on earth. It can grow up to 16.8m and weigh up to 2,722kgs. 

  18. The giant squid has the largest eyes of all animals on earth. As it is sixteen times wider than human eyes or more than 30.5cm in diameter. 

  19. The spotted climbing perch absorbs oxygen from the air and can crawl over land using its strong pectoral fins. 

  20. Some fishes do not have sharks, it cannot afloat. These fishes run continuously or stay at the bottom of the ocean. 

  21. The lateral line is the special sense organ of fishes, it works like radar and helps them for navigation in dark or murky water. 

  22. After 1853, people were known that fishes can grow as indoor pets. 

  23. The first public aquarium was opened in London in 1853 and in 1856 a person from New York named it as the aquarium.

  24. The Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Queensland Australia is the world’s largest living reef aquarium with 2.5 million liter water.  

  25. The world’s tiniest fish in a Stout Infant is about 0.6cm long.

  26.  Leedsichthys problematicus is the world’s largest fish fossil found, which lived 150 million years ago, which was found in England in 2003 and measured about 22m long. 

  27. Cavefish have no sign, but it has the ability to detect movement and odor. 

  28. American Lobsters can live over 20 years, their life span is longer than dogs and cats. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who is the Father of Ichthyology?

Ans: Aristotle provided the early taxonomic classification of fishes. He has done his research between 333 to 322 BC. He accurately described 117 species of Mediterranean fishes. Aristotle also documented the characteristic difference between fish and mammals and initiated the study of fishes. The Swedish naturalist Peter Artedi or Petrus Archtaedius (1705-1735) is known as the father of ichthyology. For his indispensable contribution to the study of fishes. 

2. What is Ichthyology the Study of?

Ans: Ichthyology is the branch of zoology, which shows the study of fishes. It includes bony fish, cartilaginous fish, and jawless fish. This discipline includes biology, taxonomy, and conservation of fish and commercial fishes. Since fish is a major source of food for people, the study of ichthyology is also economically important. As fishing is one of the oldest occupations of mankind and east to obtain a source of food. It's easy accessibility adds an advantage to ichthyology. The person, who chooses a career as ichthyology meaning study of fishes, rays, sharks, sawfish..etc.