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Glossary

A

Abdomen
The belly of the fish containing the internal organs.
Adipose fin
Small fleshy fin-like projection on the back of some fishes between the dorsal fin and the caudal fin (tail).
Anal fin
Fin on the belly behind the anus.
Antennae
Paired feelers on the head of crustaceans.
Anterior
Towards the head or front.
Anus
External opening to the intestine.

B

Barbels
Fleshy whisker-like extensions, usually under the mouth.
Benthic
Living close to or on the bottom.
By-catch
All catch other than the species sought (non-target species).

C

Canine teeth
Conical fang-like teeth on the jaws.
Carapace
Shell or exoskeleton encasing the body of a crustacean.
Carnivorous
Feeding or preying upon animals - flesh eating.
Cartilage
A substance more flexible than bone, but serving a similar structural purpose.
Caudal peduncle
The base of the tail between the anal fin and the caudal fin.
Cheek cleft
Cleft on gill cover.
Crustacean
Shellfish, e.g. prawns, crayfish, crabs, yabbies.

D

Demersal
Living on or near the sea bottom.
Dimorphic
Body shape and colour varies between the sexes.
Diurnal
Active during daylight.
Dorsal fin
Fins that run along the back of a fish (except an adipose fin).

E

Elongate
Extended in length.
Estuarine
Living in estuaries, the tidal reaches of rivers.

F

Fillet
Slab of flesh cut from the side of a fish.
Finlets
Series of separate small fins arranged along the back and belly usually between the dorsal fin and tail and/or anal fin tail.

G

Gill arch
Bony or cartilaginous structure supporting the gills.
Gills
The feathery organs by which fish extract oxygen from the water.

H

Herbivorous
Feeding on vegetable matter - plant eating.

I

Ike jime
Method of killing fish by inserting a sharp spike into their brain.

K

Keel
Hard ridge along the body usually on the head or caudal peduncle.

L

Lateral line
Sensory canal system, usually consisting of specialised scales, that runs along the sides of all fish. It is more visible in some fish than in others.

M

Molar
Blunt tooth used for crushing and grinding.
Mollusc
Shellfish such as oyster, scallops, squid, octopus, etc.
Mucus
Slimy substance secreted by mucus glands. Used by fish to protect their skin from disease, parasites and injury.

N

Nape
Neck region adjacent to skull.
Nocturnal
Active at night.

O

Ocellus
Round marking that mimics or simulates an eye.
Omnivore
Feeding on both animals and plants.

P

Paired fins
Pectoral and pelvic fins.
Pelagic
Living in the open ocean or sea above the sea floor.
Pelvic
Paired fins on the belly before the anal fin.
Planktivore
Feeding on plankton.
Plankton
Tiny plant and animal life adrift in the water column.
Posterior
Towards the tail or rear.

R

Rostrum
Beak-like extension on the carapace of some crustaceans.

S

Scutes
Modified spiny scales that form hard plates along the tails of some fish.
Shellfish
General term for crustaceans and molluscs.
Soft dorsal fin
Dorsal fin supported by flexible rays rather than rigid spines.
Spinous dorsal fin
Dorsal fin supported by rigid spines.
Swim bladder
Sac-like organ in fish's abdomen containing air - air bladder.

T

Terminal
Located at the end of something.

U

Uniform colour
Having only one colour.

V

Ventral
Of or pertaining to the underside.

Further information

Search the Australian Fish Names Database.