Classifying Fishes: Taxonomy

Classifying Fishes: Taxonomy

The classification of animals is called taxonomy, all types of animals, including fish, are categorised into different types. Fish are generally grouped according to their likenesses and differences by the people that do the classifying called taxonomists, or systematists.

Like all animals, fish are classified into large primary groups that are broken down into smaller groups, which are then broken down into even smaller, less inclusive groups.


For fish, the largest and most inclusive group would be the kingdom Animalia, which contains all animals.The next being the phylum, for fish it would be the phylum Vertebra, which contains all animals with backbones.

The next smaller grouping would be the "class" Osteichthyes, descending into the order, the family, the genus and the species. Some subfamilies, subgenera and subspecies also exist, if distinctions are needed to make distinctions between each group clearer.

Five "orders" make up 95% of the fishes in the freshwater aquarium hobby. They are the Cypriniformes, the Characiformes, the Siluriformes, the Cyprinodontiformes and the Perciformes. The remaining 5% are spread over another 4-5 orders.


In future blogs we will be running through the different classifications of fish, and providing examples and photographs of fish in each group.

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Photo credit(s): Canva Pro Licence

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