Talk:Fish

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Good article Fish has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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April 1, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
November 22, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
April 17, 2008 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article
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fish or fishes[edit]

Is there a scientific/ichthyological difference between "fish" as in "ray-finned fish" and "fishes" as in "lobe-finned fishes"? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 19:34, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Not sure if there is a scientific difference, but they can both be plural which is a little confusing. Fishes also means the act of fishing. I think Fish is the appropriate title tho (i'm assuming that is where you were going with this comment)Meatsgains (talk) 18:53, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
See fish or fishes --Epipelagic (talk) 22:20, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Though often used interchangeably, these words have different meanings. Fish is used either as singular noun or to describe a group of specimens from a single species. Fishes describes a group of different species.

This strikes me as wrong. For as long as I've heard of any semantic distinction between the two plurals, I've understood it to be one of whether you're counting the individual animals (fish) or the species of them (fishes). Quite a different matter from whether the individual animals you're counting are from one species or several, which is what this is basically saying.

Can anyone enlighten on what exactly the cited book does say? If it is to this effect, then there is a contradiction between different sources – in which case, how do we know which to believe? — Smjg (talk) 00:51, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

  • As a point of information, what the the cited book Diversity of fishes says is:
By convention, "fish" refers to one or more individuals of a single species. "Fishes" is used when discussing more than one species, regardless of the number of individuals involved. --Epipelagic (talk) 08:28, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
The entry is correct in it's current form. Here's another source from perhaps the most prominent fisheries scientist of our time: Pauly, Daniel (2004) Darwin's Fishes: An Encyclopedia of Ichthyology, Ecology, and Evolution page 77, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139451819.
See also: Nelson, Joseph S and Paetz, Martin Joseph (1992) The Fishes of Alberta page 400, University of Alberta. ISBN 9780888642363. --Epipelagic (talk) 01:23, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. In this case, I wonder why there are many sources claiming that "fishes" are distinct species of fish. Once upon a time there was an example statement here on WP: "There are twelve fish in this aquarium, representing five fishes." It must have been on a different page since I can't find the talk page discussion that ensued about it. A Google search brings up quite a lot of instances including this one from a fishery management wiki.
Indeed, I had imagined that many fish and chip shops (and to some extent other businesses) can make a claim of "We have three fishes available: cod, haddock and plaice". Indeed, for all I know some probably do claim it on the basis of the explanations that are out there.
Now I'm made to wonder: If you have multiple species of fish in an aquarium, how are you meant to answer if somebody asks "How many fish do you have?" - do you say "none" since you have fishes not fish, or do you give the number of individuals of whatever species is most abundant? — Smjg (talk) 14:10, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Your question "How many fish do you have?" in an aquarium with multiple species, is ambiguous. You would have to clarify the question by qualifying it, as in: "How many individual fish do you have altogether?" or "How many individual fish do you have in your most/least abundant fish species?" The aquarium example from the fishery management wiki is a good one, and perhaps it would make things clearer if we added it to the article. --Epipelagic (talk) 19:18, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
If we merely added it, it would make the article contradict itself. But if we can add it and in doing so explicitly address the semantic dispute, then maybe it would improve matters. — Smjg (talk) 19:17, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Would you please explain what your semantic issue is. Are you saying you find the current version of the text semantically ambiguous? As a mathematician, are you thinking of the definition from a set theoretic view? In that case it would be defining fish as a set of specimens from a single species and fishes as a set of different species. The number of fish or fishes would then be the cardinal number of the relevant set. In that case there is an ambiguity in the definition of fishes, which should be defined instead as a set of different species sets, that is, as a set of fish. But I think many readers would find that approach more confusing. The current text has been here for long time, and I haven't thought of it before as being particularly a problem, though I have thought it could be clearer. Here is a 2006 version of the text, a version which had a couple of specific examples which someone has unhelpfully removed. There are clearer definitions available in reliable sources, but we would need to either quote them or reword them to avoid plagiarism. Probably the definition given by Nelson (1992) would be the most definitive. We could either directly quote this definition:
The singular "fish" is appropriately used when talking about any number of individuals of the same species while the plural "fishes" is used when discussing individuals of two or more species.
or reword it it a manner you find satisfactory. And then further clarify the distinction with specific examples. What do you think? --Epipelagic (talk) 22:43, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

This is what I have been explaining for the last few days. If you're having trouble understanding, let's look at the three sets of definitions side by side:

Set A Set B Set C
Fish are... Individual organisms, whether of one piscine species or multiple Individual organisms of a single piscine species Individual organisms of a single piscine species
Fishes are... Distinct piscine species Distinct piscine species Individual organisms of multiple piscine species
Supported by Many hits from this Google search
An even older version of the Fish article
The old version of the Fish article you cited Current version of the Fish article

[1] [2]

Set B is problematic in that it leaves no easy way to refer to individual organisms of multiple piscine species. While set C leaves neither plural referring to a count of distinct piscine species, this isn't so much of a problem because we can use "piscine species" or "fish species" for this. Still, set A is the one I had understood it to be after seeing it previously on WP.

A further complication is that different national varieties of English may use the terms in different ways. For this reason, we might need a good set of sources coming from different parts of the world.

A correct version of the Fish vs fishes section would either:

  • State one of these sets of definitions (or another that I haven't heard of) as being the correct terminology, and give an authoritative source to back it up. But given the conflicting sources, how do we know which sources are authoritative?
  • State one of the sets of definitions as the correct one, but also refer to the other sets of definitions as being widespread misunderstandings. Again, we would need authoritative sources on which is the correct set of definitions.
  • Give all three sets of definitions (or sets A and C, if we can't find any real source for B) in such a way as to explicitly address the terminological dispute.

Smjg (talk) 10:23, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Thinking about it now, my inclination would be to handle it in a similar way to what has been done on Aging in dogs. Something like:

While the plurals "fish" and "fishes" are often used interchangeably, strictly speaking there is a distinction between the two. However, there are at least two sets of definitions in use:
  • According to some writers, fish are individual piscine organisms, whereas fishes are distinct piscine species. By these definitions, an aquarium may contain twelve fish (i.e. twelve individual animals) but at the same time only five fishes (i.e. five species of fish).
  • The other set of definitions to be found in the literature considers both plural forms to denote a number of individual piscine organisms, but uses fish if they are all of the same species and fishes if they are of varied species.

This would then be followed by commentary on which is correct, if we can consider the sources that we're using to back our claims to be reliable. Since it's a point of contention, probably better than stating in a matter-of-fact way that a particular set is correct we should probably express it in terms of who considers which definitions to be correct. — Smjg (talk) 20:58, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Sorry but this is spiralling out of proportion. You are making up problems that are not really there, and you are not supporting your views with reliable sources. Random hits from Google web searches and different versions of the Fish article are not reliable sources. The only sources in your table that are authoritative are the ones in the last column. Those are the ones I gave you. There are no "conflicting sources", not reliable ones at any rate.
If you want to see how fish and fishes are actually used in the research literature, you can find plenty of examples here. You have been given three reliable sources. One is from Joseph S. Nelson, perhaps the most authoritative fish taxonomist of our time, one from Daniel Pauly, perhaps the most prominent fisheries scientist of our time, and one from The diversity of fishes, perhaps the most widely used undergraduate textbook on fish of our time. Those are definitive sources.
I have rewritten the section, included some examples, and removed your tag. If you want to continue with your dispute you can ask for a third opinion or take the matter to dispute resolution. I don't want to spend more time on this unless the discussion revolves around reliable sources. --Epipelagic (talk) 06:36, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

The answer is only FISH[edit]

Epipelagic (talk) has it wrong and so do the cited links. As the links are Google (UK) searches and Wikipedia itself (see WP:NOR, WP:PRIMARY) they are invalid as points of discussion. You cannot use Wikipedia as a place of primary information. The term for "fish" is and always will be "fish". Multiple or one, species or singular, proper English grammar is "fish". What confuses people is the term "fishes" is a proper word. Only, it is the verb (to fish) that gets this distinction.

"Watch as Bob fishes for compliments." - That is your example of the ONLY way that you can use "Fishes" properly. It is a present tense (or near present tense) verb. 134.240.241.240 (talk) 18:57, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Skeleton evolution[edit]

This article and the "prehistoric fish" article both neglect to discuss the evolution of the internal skeleton of fish. Is this something that an editor here can add to this article? Not my area. -Fjozk (talk) 06:56, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

The article clearly misses the skeleton in the organs section. 79.168.9.101 (talk) 22:21, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Fish in the old sense?[edit]

Is it worth mentioning somewhere that the word "fish" was previously also applied to many other kinds of animals that lived in water, and that the old usage still shows in names such as "starfish" , "crayfish" and so on? I ask because that is directly relevant to the article List of fish in the River Trent and maybe other articles too. Thanks, Invertzoo (talk) 14:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC) p.s watch the octonauts and their love fish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.150.13.37 (talk) 19:22, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 April 2014[edit]

107.178.39.130 (talk) 04:41, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: as you have not requested a change.
If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, without which no information should be added to any article. - Arjayay (talk) 07:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Behaviour section[edit]

This article is missing a huge section, i.e. the Behaviour of fish. Take a look at the Bird article for comparison. This has several subsections under "Behaviour" many of which could be directly applied here (I'm not sure about "feather care"). I am prepared to start this section but because this is already a "good article", reluctant to make what will be a large change without discussing first.__DrChrissy (talk) 11:16, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

I agree. The article is long overdue for restructuring, and a section on Behaviour seems appropriate. I don't think we have to make a big production out of it, and we can just incrementally change things over time. But first, I'd like to see this current discussion about an animal MOS run it's course. --Epipelagic (talk) 16:39, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
Yep - sure thing. Apologies if I have diverted attention.__DrChrissy (talk) 18:19, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
Fish behavior would be a huge topic, worthy of an overview article itself, as seen in the many sub-topics already listed Template:Diversity_of_fish (see Reproduction, Locomotion, and Other behaviors). Much of the information is already on Wikipedia, and any effort to organize it into a single overview article with summary style is commended. In the mean time, a series of "See also" or "Main article" hatnotes might be a good temporary fix. In fact, following summary style, Fish could probably be consolidated a bit by deferring more text to the appropriate sub-articles. --Animalparty-- (talk) 22:56, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
Agree needs a behaviour section. as 36 kb of prose, so still some room for expansion before it needs carving up. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:19, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Diversity section[edit]

Seems a bit nebulous and I think could be restructured. The first para could go in taxonomy, the second in etymology (after a segement on hte derivation of the word "fish"), the third is on homeothermy (as well as part of the fourth), last para is habitat and there is a bit left on size...not sure where that could go. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:23, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Scientific classification : Class[edit]

Why is the "proposed class" of Craniata listed but not the two accepted classes of Osteichthye and Chondrichthye? Either the Craniata entry should be listed as being "proposed" TOGETHER WITH the two current Classes, OR Craniata should be deleted from the scientific classification box. LookingGlass (talk) 14:35, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

It was believed that fish is the first animal with backbone, and the most diverse vertebrate of all the animal family?[edit]

[1]interesting-facts-about-fish-you-need-to-know/c17jj/5519912[2]f0cf21933cd239e3f Interesting facts about fish Magabby22 (talk) 18:48, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Neither is that reliable ref nor is the interrogative heading correct. Modern fish are certainly descendants of the earliest vertebrates, but then so is every other vertebrate, ourselves included. I am unclear what you intend by the above message, can you clarify please ?  Velella  Velella Talk   18:56, 1 April 2015 (UTC)