Ocean Fish Lesson for Kids: Types & Names

Instructor: Mark Boster
The ocean has many fish in it. Some of these fish don't even have bones! Just like there are many types of restaurants, there are many different types of fish. If you are curious about what they are and what they're called, this is the lesson for you.


Have you ever been to a family reunion or Thanksgiving celebration? If so, you probably had many choices for dessert. There may have been pies, cakes, and cookies, and different flavors of each of these. Well, that's the way it works in the oceans. There are basically three types of fish, with different 'flavors' of each.


Agnatha (pronounced ag'-nuh-thuh), the first group, is the oldest group of fish there is, and its members live on the bottom or near the bottom of the ocean. They have snakelike bodies with no jaws, and they don't have scales. There are about 105 different kinds of Agnantha fish, like different kinds of pie after the meal.

Let's look at some fish that are in the Agnatha group. It might help to remember this type of fish has a big ugly mouth, and the last two letters in its name are HA, like if you had your mouth open saying, 'HA'. See Diagram 1 for an example.

Hag Fish

Hag fish are long and don't have jaws. How do they eat then, you may ask. Here's the answer: they don't chew. Like a vacuum hose, they just suck their food in. They also are covered with a slime that looks like mucus (snot). The gross part is that they can make four ounces of it in less than a second.


Lampreys are much like hag fish in that they have no jaw and eat like a hose, just attaching themselves to other fish. They begin their lives in freshwater, but end up living in the ocean. They are nasty looking, too!

Diagram 1


Chondrichthyes (pronounced kän-'drik-thee-eez) fish have no bones. Everything that would seem like a bone is actually cartilage. Cartilage is the same stuff your nose and ears are made of. To help you remember their name, remember that this group ends in 'yes' , as in 'yes, that is just cartilage'. Some examples are in Diagram 2.


Skates are related to sharks, but aren't sharks. They don't make more teeth as the others fall out like sharks do - they have three pairs of teeth they have to use their whole life. They also have a big, poisonous spine that helps protect them from predators.


Rays are lazy fish. They like to lie on the bottom of the ocean hidden in the sand. They only like the warmer waters and don't like cold water at all. Their eyes are on top of their head, but their mouth and gills are underneath. When they want to move, they sort of wiggle their body like a wave. They have a barb on their tail that is very dangerous and has been known to kill a man.

Diagram 2

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