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Fish are members of the Animalia Kingdom (animals) and are also classified into the Phylum Chordata.

Fish are vertebrates that live in water and breathe with gills. Fish are ectotherms, or cold-blooded (mostly). Fish have either backbones of cartilage or bone. Most fish are adapted to live in salt or fresh water. Most fish have fins and scales, which cover and protect the body. Fish are further classified into three classes;

Agnatha, jawless fish such as the hagfish and lampreys

Chrondrichthyes, fish whose skeleton is made of cartilage such as sharks, rays and skates

Osteichthyes, fish whose skeleton is mainly bone such as bass, perch, catfish, and carp.

There are approximately 50 species of jawless fish, 600 species of cartilaginous fish and more than 30,000 species of bony fish. The bony fish, Osteichthyes, further classified into two main groups; ray-finned group (like perch and carp) and lobe-finned group (like lungfish). Most bony fish belong to the “ray-finned” group.


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