Anatomy of a Fish

So you happened to chance upon this write-up: A fish has a yellow colouration on the dorsal and caudal fins, with a spotted anal fin. What fins, we hear you ask. Confused by the different fins on a fish?

Before we introduce you to our residents in Marine Life Park, let us first understand the basic anatomy of a fish.


Pectoral Fin
Located where the head meets the body, pectoral fins  serve a similar function for the fish, as our arms do. They are used to stabilise, rotate and stop the fish during slower motion, and are generally found in symmetrical pairs, on each side of the fish.

Pelvic Fin
Pelvic fins like the pectoral fins, are symmetrical on each side of the fish. They help the fish to move up and down, as well as turn sharply in water.

Anal Fin
Situated behind the fish’s  cloaca, the common opening for excreting wastes and expelling eggs and sperm, the anal fin is used for stability and acts as a rudder to steer the fish at a greater speed.

Caudal/Tail Fin
The caudal fin is generally referred to as the fish’s tail. The caudal fin is the main  fin  that provides propulsion for the fish’s forward thrust.

Dorsal Fin
Found  along the dorsal or ‘back’ of a fish, some species may have up to three dorsal fins. They are used for balancing, and also to trigger sudden movements. They also increase the fish’s stability by keeping them upright. Dorsal fins can be modified in different species to serve as defence, warning or courtship appendages.

Gills & Gill Plates
Gills are the breathing organs for fish. They absorb oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide back into the water. Gill plates are covers that protect the gills.

Lateral Line
The lateral line is a sensory organ  that allows fish to detect movements and vibrations in the waters around them in order to capture prey, elude predators and navigate efficiently. The degree of sensitivity varies for different fishes. Sharks have more rows of these sensors in order for them to enhance their hunting and navigating abilities.

Now that you have a clearer picture of a fish’s anatomy, you are all set to meet MLP’s new residents.

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