Park Life Blog

Wildlife Education: Fish

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and animal species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about fish and some of their characteristics!

Fish are a diverse group of animals that share certain characteristics. For example, fish live in water and have fins that are used for swimming, turning, keeping an upright position, and more. (Due to the large variety of species of fish, there are exceptions to some of the characteristics mentioned in the following questions.)

Fish are classified as vertebrates because they have a backbone and skeletal system. This picture below shows a model of a fish skeleton.


A fish has gills located on the sides of its head. Most fish use gills to absorb oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide into the water. Fish have a two-chambered heart (1 atrium and 1 ventricle) that pumps blood. Deoxygenated blood (blood without oxygen) returns to the atrium from the body. Blood travels from the atrium into the ventricle. Blood is pumped out of the ventricle and travels to the gills where the blood becomes oxygenated. The blood carries oxygen to the rest of the body and returns to the atrium.


Nature Challenge – Take a nature walk around a lake at Shelby Farms Park (or around a lake near you) and look for fish in the water as you walk.

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