Fish Facts

marine researchHow long do reef fish live?

There is very little information on the longevity of reef fish. One of the longest recorded life spans is that of a Lemon Shark, who reached 50 years of age. Most of the larger reef sharks probably live an average of 30 to 40 years of age. In general, the larger sized fish live longer than that of the smaller sized fish.

Otolith (ear bone) aging techniques indicate that some grouper species live at least 25 years and some snappers live up to 20 years of age. Most of the knowledge of smaller reef fish has resulted from aquarium studies. Although artificial habitats may exceed the natural life span due to the lack of variables. Bat fish have been recorded to live for 20 years, whilst damsel fish and angle fish may reach 10 years or more.

Interesting facts about Sharks

  • Most fish have skeletons of bone, but sharks have a skeleton made of cartilage which is softer and more flexible than bone.
  • Shark bodies are slender and more streamlined, enabling them to swim and turn at great speeds. Their paired pectoral and pelvic fins help the shark to steer and break
  • Unlike fish, sharks have a backbone that extends to the tip of their tail. This enables the shark to be a very powerful swimmer
  • Sharks breathe through 5 to 7 gill openings along each side of their head.
  • Sharks have tiny teeth like scales called ‘denticles’ embedded in their tough leathery skin. This makes the sharks skin feel rough like sand paper
  • Many sharks are shaded in colours ideal for camouflage. Their dark coloured top half makes them hard to see when viewed from above and their pale white underside, blends in with the lighter colour of the water colour and the sky when seen from below.
  • Sharks are always alert and aware of the changes in their environment. Any disturbance attracts their attention and they will cruise in slowly to take a closer look.
  • Sharks have a very keen sense of smell. They have sensitive areas on their skin that can pick up vibrations made from other sea creatures or any activity in the ocean
  • Shark food varies. Some sharks feed mainly on small fish and squid, while other sharks feed on sea urchins and crustaceans.

Source: www.gbrmpa.gov.au