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How Many Senses Do Fish Have? Facts & FAQs

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

oscar fish in tank

You are probably well aware of the fact that humans have five senses. These senses include vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. We seem to get by just fine with these five senses.

Now, many people wonder, how many senses do fish have? Okay, so fish have all five senses that we humans have.

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How Many Senses Do Fish Have?

They can see, they can hear, they can smell, they can taste, and they can feel a touch too. In terms of how good each sense is, it depends on the type of fish and where it lives. Generally speaking, fish tend to have a fairly good sense of taste and smell, which is because they need to smell well to hunt for food and to detect predators.

Their sense of sight is also fairly mediocre. They can see well enough, especially if the fish in question lives in shallow and bright waters, but many can’t see all that well. They do rely on sight to hunt a certain amount, but it’s their sixth sense that they use for predator and prey detection the most. When it comes to hearing, fish do hear just fine, but once again, it is not one of the senses they rely on most.

We just mentioned this sixth sense. Yes, fish have a sixth sense which we humans, unfortunately, do not have. Fish have a special thing or things in their bodies. These are special cells in a lateral line along the surface of the fish’s skin. These cells can detect water movement, vibrations in the water, and changes in water flow.

Many fish have a very advanced sense of vibration detection, which is necessary to detect when prey or predators are close. For example, sharks have excellent vibration detection skills which they use to hunt down their meals.

comet goldfish
Image By: Hans, Pixabay

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So, the bottom line is that fish have six senses unlike the five which humans have. They can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste, but they have the added benefit of being able to detect vibrations in the water as well as changes in water flow.

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

Authored by

Lindsey discovered her passion for fish keeping after a junior high school field trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Prior to becoming Editor-in-Chief of It's a Fish Thing, Lindsey studied marine biology at the University of California-Santa Cruz. She loves goldfish, tetras, and mystery snails, and recently began experimenting with a saltwater aquarium.

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