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Fish are critical to the functioning and health of our ecosystems, supporting food webs, nutrient cycling, ecosystem services, and biodiversity. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance and sustainability of our planet’s aquatic ecosystems.

Unlike earlier reports, fish are sentient beings, just like any other animals. They feel pain, they have families, and they deserve to live their lives without all being mercilessly plucked from the ocean and ending up on someone’s dinner plate. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

So, let’s give fish a break, let’s be mindful of our oceans, and let’s do our part to make this world a better place by choosing plant-based fish. And hey, if you need any more convincing, just remember; plants don’t have feelings, but fish do.



Pufferfish, from the Tetraodontidae family, are clumsy, oddly shaped and among the ocean’s slowest movers. When in immediate danger, the pufferfish can gulp up lots of water (and sometimes air), enough to expand its stomach and grow several times its own size. At the same time, spikes appear and protrude from the fish’s body.

In this state, the pufferfish cannot easily move. What it can do, however, is thwart off outside threats who may lose their appetite upon seeing the odd display. If they’re daring enough to go ahead and chow down anyway, the pufferfish’s body is laden in toxins that will do more than leave a bad taste in the predator’s mouth—they might even poison it, too.


The spotted handfish is an extremely rare species in the handfish family, Brachionichthyidae.

The handfishes are a unique, Australian family of anglerfish, the most speciose of the few marine fish families endemic to Australia. Handfish are unusual, small (up to 120 millimetres (4.7in) in length), slow-moving fishes that prefer to ‘walk’ rather than swim. They are found only in a very specific location along the Great Southern Reef – near the Derwent River estuary in Tasmania. Sadly, the spotted handfish was the first marine fish to be listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1996, and still remains on the list to this day.


If you’re looking for the kind of fish you saw in the early 2000’s video games where everything was more or less boxy, you wouldn’t be too far off when it comes to the Boxfish. The Boxfish, scientifically known as Ostraciidae, is, as its name describes, a rather squared and bony species, closely related to the Filefishes as well as the Pufferfish.

Popular for the “honeycomb” or hexagonal patterns on their skin, these whimsical fish come in a variety of different colors. These hexagonal scales are fused together into a solid, carapace akin to that of a box, from which the tail, fins, eyes, and mouth protrude. Due to these heavily armored scales, the Boxfish tends to be on the slower side, swimming in a rowing manner. Boxfish can grow up to twenty-four inches.


Looking at this male Asian sheepshead wrasse, you might not guess that he started his life as a pouty-lipped orange whip of a baby. You may also be surprised to learn that he began life as a female.

These beginnings are common to most wrasses, a diverse group of colorful marine fishes found in temperate and tropical waters. The Asian sheepshead species (Semicossyphus reticulatus), or Kobudai in Japanese, is among the largest of the group, and makes its home in rocky reefs and wrecks around Japan, Korea, and off the coast of China. As she grows, she begins to change color and sprout a distinctive hump just above her eyes. If she is among the strongest and largest of her kind by around 10 years of age, she may begin a months-long transformation, her chin elongating below her jutting snaggle teeth and her forehead expanding further as she becomes male. It’s unclear what triggers this sex change, but for the bluehead wrasse, at least, scientists believe it’s caused when the largest local female senses the absence of the dominant male, which may release a cascade of stress hormones that initiate her transformation.


Commonly named a ‘Hairy frogfish’ this funny looking creature is covered in spines. These spines, which resemble strands of hair, allow the marine animal to camouflage itself against coral and seaweed. Found mostly in warm waters around the world, the hairy frogfish can also change its color to blend in with its surroundings.

These animals may be excellent at hiding in plain sight. However they do something that really makes them stand out from a lot of other sea creatures. The fish—which usually grow about four inches long—don’t swim. Instead they walk on their wide fins along the seafloor as they look for snacks to eat.


Our ocean is full of toxic creatures, from blue-ringed octopus to lionfish, but the stonefish holds the title of most venomous fish in the sea. The name “stonefish” refers to one of several fish in the genus Synanceia within the family Synanceiidae.

Stonefish are found in rocky or muddy bottoms of marine habitats in the Indo-Pacific region. They have excellent camouflage—their bodies are typically brown with orange, yellow or red patches and are textured to resemble the surrounding rocks or coral. You could swim right by a stonefish and never know it was there! Stonefish use this to their advantage while hunting and will wait for fish to swim by then swiftly attack and swallow their prey.


With its lure and sharp teeth, the anglerfish (Order Lophiiformes) is the iconic deep-sea monster. You might recognize it as the bad-ass creep in Finding Nemo.

As life in the deep sea is difficult, many fishes there have special adaptations to improve their ability to feed and to mate. Deep sea anglerfish may not regularly encounter suitable prey, so they have very large mouths and stomachs and long, pointy teeth in order to facilitate capturing and swallowing anything that they find. They also have a lure, like all anglerfishes, that they use to attract prey. The deep sea anglerfish’s lure is filled with bacteria that make their own light.

Using a muscular skin flap, a deep sea anglerfish can either hide or reveal its lighted lure. By pulsing the light and moving the lure back and forth, they successfully attract pelagic crustaceans, fishes, and other prey.


Who among us hasn’t made this exact face at some point during the pandemic? That look of utter exasperation as many of us resign ourselves to That Lockdown Life. If only we could retreat to the calm nothingness of the seafloor like this delightfully ugly fish until this whole mess was over.

Meet the whitemargin stargazer (Uranoscopus sulphureus), a large ambush hunter that is both venomous and electric and uses a tongue-like appendage as a lure. Found in relatively shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific region, including around Indonesia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, the whitemargin stargazer has also been spotted off the coast of Queensland.

A member of the stargazer family (Uranoscopidae), named for having eyes on the top of their head, this fish also has a large, upwards-facing mouth, which allows it to bury itself in the sand and lie in wait for unsuspecting prey.


Looking like it just swam out of a horror movie is the amazing fangtooth. Known scientifically as Anoplogaster cornuta, this menacing creature haunts the deep waters of many of the world’s oceans. The fangtooth gets its name from its rather impressive looking teeth, which are actually the largest teeth of any fish in the ocean when taken in proportion to body size. Because of its unusually grotesque appearance, the fangtooth has earned the nickname “ogrefish”. It is also referred to by some as the common sabretooth.

Although the fangtooth may look like a true monster, it is actually a small fish, reaching a maximum length of only six inches (16 centimeters). It has a short, deep body and with a large head and mouth. The head contains numerous mucous cavities separated by serrated ridges. These cavities are covered over with thin skin. The body of this fish is covered with small, prickly scales, and its color varies from black to dark brown. It has very small eyes that are set high on the head. To compensate for relatively poor eyesight, the fangtooth has developed an unusually prominent lateral line which helps it to sense movement and vibration from the surrounding water.


Imagine the situation – you are taking an evening dip in the Amazon River (for some unknown reason?!). Suddenly you feel it. A strange wiggling sensation inside the “old chap” followed by an excruciatingly intense pain. What has just happened is you have been the victim of a candiru attack. Also known as the toothpick or vampire fish, this little river monster has swum up your penis and lodged itself in position using its umbrella like spines.

If you are to believe the stories then your only course of action is to immediately amputate the penis to prevent the candiru from working its way into your body cavity resulting in your certain death. At least this is the advice of some. Other suggested cures are somewhat less drastic, but all agree, the candiru is one of the terrors of the Amazon basin fit to rival both the piranha or anaconda.

The candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa) is a tiny catfish measuring just 3 to 5 cm in length. It is also known as the toothpick fish on account of its slender shape.

This little fish’s unsavoury reputation stems from its vampire-like feeding habits. The candiru is a parasite of larger fish, feeding off the blood from their gills. Living in the murky waters of the Amazon river it was said that the candiru relies on its sense of smell to home in its victim. However, it is now believed they hunt by sight. It will then stealthily swim alongside its victim waiting for the moment the larger fish opens its gills to breathe, at which point it darts in.


Best known as Nemo, the lovely looking clownfish can be many different colours, depending on its species, including yellow, orange, red, and black. Most have white details. They are usually seen as smaller fish, with the smallest around 7 to 8cm long, but they can grow up to 17cm.

Clownfish survive in a mutually assistive symbiotic relationship with anemone. The anemone protect the clownfish from predators and provide food scraps. In return, the clownfish uses its bright colours to lure fish into the anemone, where they are killed by the anemone’s poison and eaten. The clownfish also fertilises the anemone with its faeces.


Possibly the most recognized freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby, angelfish belong to the family Cichlidae. Admired for their graceful swimming behavior, the Regal Angelfish can be found throughout the northern and western Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Indo-Pacific Ocean.


The sex of the Regal Angelfish cannot be determined by color variations; however, color differences do exist between specimens from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean versus those from the Indo-Pacific region. Red Sea and Indian Ocean specimens exhibit a bright orange coloration throughout the ventral area and under the mouth, while those from the Indo-Pacific area are blue-gray. The difference is clear in adult specimens but somewhat harder to discern in juveniles. 


Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific. It is characterized by conspicuous warning coloration with red or black bands, and ostentatious dorsal fins tipped with venomous spines; 13 dorsal spines; 10-11 dorsal soft rays; 3 anal spines; and 6-7 anal soft rays. An adult lionfish can grow as large as 18 inches, while juveniles may be as small as 1 inch or less.

Lionfish are slow-moving and conspicuous, so they must rely on their unusual coloration and fins to discourage would-be predators from eating them. Lionfish are now one of the top predators in many coral reef environments of the Atlantic. Lionfish consume over 50 species of fish including some economically and ecologically important species. Lionfish are active hunters who ambush their prey by using their outstretched, fan-like pectoral fins to slowly pursue and “corner” them. So however beautiful they may look, as dangerous they are.


Parrotfish vary drastically from species to species, and there are roughly 90 species of parrotfish in the Scaridae family. They tend to change colour as they mature and change gender (more on that later).

World-class dive destinations like Hawaii and the Maldives are famed for their pristine coral reefs and white sandy beaches… but did you know that a lot of this sand is actually parrotfish poop?

Parrotfish break off chunks of coral and grind it down to extract the nutrient-rich parts, such as algae and soft tissue. The ‘bad,’ non-digestible stuff comes out the other end as fine sand. Parrotfish teeth need to be incredibly sharp to grind down their favourite snack, and they have hundreds of them fused together. In fact, parrotfish teeth are so powerful that if you listen carefully next time you’re diving with one, you’ll hear a crunching sound as it feeds!


The mandarinfish is the most beautiful member of the genus Synchiropus. It is also one of the most breathtaking marine fish ever found in our oceans. It looks more like an intricate painting than it does a fish, with its entire body made up of wavy alternating lines of orange, blue and green. While commonly known as the mandarin goby and the mandarin fish, its true name is the mandarin dragonet.

Due to its natural beauty, this fish is heavily collected from throughout the Indo-Pacific. Sadly, these fishes do very poorly in captivity. They have special dietary needs that are not met by the vast majority of hobbyists. Most pick one up and simply assume they’ll get by like the rest of their fish. This could not be further from the truth. Most hobbyists cannot provide the mandarin with the proper food, and they end up starving to death.


Meet the yellow-headed jawfish. These funny looking fish live in patches of sand and coral rubble around the edges of reefs. With no place to hide in these open areas, jawfish dig in, building burrows into the sand. When danger threatens, they dive for cover into their burrow. When the coast is clear, they hover over their burrows waiting to snap up small animals that drift by on the currents.

The Spanish name for jawfishes is “bocas grandes,” meaning “big mouths.” Jawfishes use their big mouths like scoops as they move sand and rocks while digging their burrows. Besides serving as scoops, jawfishes’ big mouths come in handy at mating time. The males carry their eggs inside their mouths until they hatch.


The Oranda goldfish, Carassius auratus auratus, is a variety of fancy goldfish and one of the most popular goldfish types on the planet. In Japan, these goldfish are known as Oranda Shishigashiri. They are popular with breeders and collectors throughout Asia, where the fish are also referred to as Tiger goldfish or Tigerheads.

Orandas are distinguished by the fleshy growth on the top of their heads that’s called a wen. The wen doesn’t appear until the fish is around three to four months old, fully forming after about one to two years and continuing to grow until the fish is between two and three years old.

Their tail fin is long and split, forming a beautiful floating fan shape when the fish hangs stationary in the water. For that reason, in China, these fish are called “flowers of the water.” The fish’s other fins are usually paired, giving the creature an enchanting symmetrical appearance.


The fascinating Tassled Scorpionfish represents one of roughly 100 types of known scorpionfish. This eye-catching species remains an extremely dangerous species of ocean dwelling fish as it possesses numerous venomous spines for use in its defense. The animal has evolved the ability to use these to deliver an extremely painful sting with great efficiency.

It has evolved an incredibly fast method of attack. That’s because it opens its mouth wide, and creates a powerful suction. This amazing ability literally draws the prey into its mouth, without its ever having to move. In most species of scorpionfish, this feeding process occurs more rapidly than the human eye can follow.


Also known as Coral Blenny, Gold-spotted Rockskipper, Orange-spotted Blenny, Redspot Flymo Blenny, Red-spotted Rockskipper, Reef Blenny, Rock Blenny, Rockskippper.

Found singly or in small schools, usually seen with just their heads protruding from holes, over clear coastal reef flats, of surge swept seaward reefs, rich in algae growth.
They feed on algae, detritus, and small invertebrates.

Red Spotted Blennies are known for their remarkable ability to mimic other fish species, particularly the cleaner wrasses. They imitate the behaviour and coloration patterns of cleaner wrasses to trick larger fish into thinking they are harmless cleaners. This mimicry allows them to get close to potential prey or avoid being attacked by predators.

Also they are exceptional jumpers. They have strong Pectoral fins that allow them to leap out of the water and “skip” across the surface, scraping algae from the surface of dead corals as they go.


A blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) may be the ugliest animal you’ve ever seen. They have small eyes, a gelatinous appearance, a large mouth, and a relatively small body and fins to go with it.

As it turns out, the blobfish has good reason to be so ugly: its habitat shaped it that way. Blobfish live in deep water just off the ocean floor around southeastern Australia and Tasmania. At depths of 2,000 feet or greater, the water pressure is crushing—more than 60 times that of water at the surface! If you lived down that deep, you’d probably be squished into a blob, too.

Fortunately for the blobfish, they’ve adopted a way of living that allows them to survive just fine as a blob in the deep ocean. They tend to float along, just off the bottom of the sea, eating whatever happens to float right in front of them and is small enough to fit into their mouths.

Being a gelatinous blob also helps the blobfish with its coach-potato attitude. Its body composition gives it just the right buoyancy to float along across the bottom of the sea without having to expend much effort. Imagine putting a water balloon in a pool full of people: it would just kind of float along across the bottom of the pool. The same thing happens with the blobfish, minus the pool and lots of people part.