Why Do Fish Have Scales?


Quick Answer

Scales on a fish provide protection. Hard, sturdy and slippery scales prevent damage from sharp objects like coral, and they protect the fish from predators' sharp teeth.

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Why Do Fish Have Scales?
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Full Answer

Scales are bony and overlap, which not only protects the fish, but allows a gliding side-to-side swimming motion. The porcupine fish raises its scales to ward off predators. A shark's scales resemble teeth. Catfish and lamprey do not have scales. In addition to scales, fish have two layers of skin. The outer epidermis produces a slimy substance to ward off fungi and bacteria. The inner skin is tough and bony. Rings on a fish scale indicate its age.

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