As one of the oldest classes of animals, fish are an incredibly diverse group, with masses of variation in size, shape and colour. These characteristics are designed to help them fit into their environment – for example, A fish may need to be small enough to hide in the reefs they call home or have a mouth that faces downwards in order to scour the sea bed for food.
In this blog, we’re looking specifically at colour and we’re going bold! While the likes of brown and grey fish are still beautiful in their own right, it’s safe to say that there are some incredibly colourful fish out there that will catch your eye. With this in mind, here is our list of the most colourful fish in the world – some of which you might be able to spot right here at Tynemouth Aquarium.
The Angelfish (Pterophyllum) is so named because of its silhouette strongly resembling the head, wings and dress of an angel. Angelfish can be found in a variety of colours, from white to blue, black, orange and pink. They are unmistakable due to their truly unique shape.
It is almost impossible not to recognise this movie star fish. A beautiful fish even without the Hollywood treatment, the clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) stands out for its distinctive orange and white markings that resemble a clown’s makeup.
Clownfish call the venomous animals, anemones, home due to their immunity to the anemone’s venom, this means that they can hide from predators who aren’t so lucky. Despite anemones being found worldwide, clownfish only live in tropical waters such as in the Red Sea and Pacific Ocean, where they feed off small invertebrates and algae.
From one Hollywood star to another, perhaps just as famous as the clownfish is the Tang fish (Paracanthurus hepatus) with the most recognisable being the Regal Tang. The Tang Fish come in a variety of colours, with over 80 species living in tropical waters across the globe. Blue tangs are, as the name would suggest, blue when they reach maturity, but when they are first born, they are a vibrant yellow.
Coming in similar shapes to angel fish, but without the large fins, the tang fish is a fish that isn’t as cute as it may appear. When threatened, this incredible fish can inject venom using razor-sharp spines on their dorsal fin.
Named after their mane-like fins, the lionfish (Pterois) is an incredibly beautiful and unique fish that is usually striped brown with a band of white stripes. Similar to an African lion, you wouldn’t want to get too close to the lionfish due to its deadly sting that it uses to protect itself from potential predators.
Lionfish can grow up to 18 inches, with their large fin span accentuating their relatively small size.
Although a unique-looking fish, the Triggerfish’s (Balistidae) bright and distinct colours are more than enough to put it on this list. The name Triggerfish comes from the dorsal fin which locks itself into an erect position to lock itself into crevices to hide. The fin is then depressed by the pressing of a “trigger” fin. The locked fin may also make the fish look bigger which potentially deters predatory fish.
The colours of triggerfish include blue, yellow, black and grey which not only makes them look very beautiful but also allows them to blend into their environments to avoid predators.
Feeding mainly on invertebrates such as crabs and molluscs, the triggerfish can be found primarily in the Indo-Pacific region, but they inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans across the globe.
The clown triggerfish looks very different from the common clownfish, but gets its name in very much the same way, they both look like they’re wearing clown costumes!
Across the globe there are many beautiful fish that vary greatly in appearance, making each fish truly fascinating to examine and explore. We hope that this list has opened your eyes to the wonders of the most colourful fish that the seas and oceans have to offer. If you’d like to see these fish up close and personal, be sure to book tickets for Tynemouth Aquarium!