13 Rare Types of Fish You’ve Probably Never Seen

Rare types of fish

Isn’t it wonderful to spot a rare type of fish? In this article we will take a look at some of the most rare types of fish found in the world today. We will explore what they look like, their numbers and where they are mostly found.

Here are 13 rare types of fish found in the world today.

1. Blackfin Hook-ear Sculpin

Blackfin Hook-ear Sculpin
  • Scientific name: Artediellus ochotensis
  • Appearance: dark or pale brown with grey or black fins, and a distinctive long hook-like spine on each cheek.
  • Location: Russia, Canada, USA, Iceland, Greenland
  • Current estimated number: Unknown

The Blackfin Hook-ear Sculpin is a rare type of fish and is one of the smallest sized sculpins with a body length of about 4 inches. The hook-eared sculpins is found naturally occurring in water bodies that have sandy or muddy grounds.

Their diet consists of mollusks and small crustaceans. Female sculpins reproduce in batches of 50 to 300 eggs.

2. Tube-eye

  • Scientific name: Stylephorus chordatus
  • Appearance: Light-brown, gray, or black with brown or black patterns and rhomboid-shaped.
  • Location: Japan, China, Korea
  • Current estimated number: Unknown

3. Smalltooth Sawfish

Smalltooth Sawfish, Rare Type of fish
  • Scientific name: Pristis pectinata
  • Appearance: Brown-gray, gray, blue-gray, or black with white underpants.
  • Location: Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Sierra Leone, United States
  • Current estimated number: Largely unknown with a population of 264 to 505 in the United States [2]

The Small tooth Sawfish has an approximate bodyweight of 772 pounds and body length of 218 inches.

This fish uses its saw-like body part to uncover mollusks and crustaceans hidden in sand or mud and in attacking other fish for prey. Females are believed to have long gestational periods.

4. European Sea Sturgeon

European Sea Sturgeon
  • Scientific name: Acipenser sturio
  • Appearance: A wedge-shaped head, a brown-gray back and a yellow stomach. Their dorsal fins are set further back from the body.
  • Location: France
  • Current estimated number: 20 to 750 adults [3]

This species is also known as the Atlantic sturgeon whose scientific name is Acipenser sturio. It has a similar diet as other sturgeons consuming crustaceans and worms.

They can live for up to 100 years. It grows to an approximate weight of 882 pounds and a length of 49 inches.

Related articles: How long do fish live for?

5. Kissing Loach

  • Scientific name: Parabotia curtus
  • Appearance: Deep dark brown dorsal appearance with light brown vertical stripes. They have large gills and a line from the operculum to the caudal fin.
  • Location: Japan
  • Current estimated number: 440 adult fish [4]

The Kissing Loach`s is another rare type of fish whose natural habitat is in lakes and streams in Japan`s largest island, Honshu. They then choose to move to paddy fields in river streams to spawn.

Other physical features for this species include an elongated body and a compressed and pointed head. This species reproduces once a year.

6. Giant Sea Bass

Giant Sea Bass
  • Giant Sea Bass
  • Scientific name: Stereolepis gigas
  • Appearance: Gray-black or dark-brown color with a lighter belly. The younger version is a red and orange appearance with white spots on the sides.
  • Location: Mexico, United States
  • Current estimated number: Unknown

The giant sea bass has an approximate weight of 562 pounds and body length of 98 inches. This species is known to live for more than 75 years.

Its habitat is in kelp forests, rocky, and sandy sea bottoms, and mudflats. Their diet is carnivorous consuming fish like Mackerel and crabs.

7. Tequila Splitfin

  • Scientific name: Zoogoneticus tequila
  • Appearance: patterned and olive shaded. Males are typically darker than females and will spot cream bands on their anal and dorsal fins.
  • Location: Mexico
  • Current estimated number: 80 adults [5]

Tequila Splitfin is one of the rare types of fish found in the world today. The male Tequila are smaller than females, with a standard length of 1.6 inches and 2.3 inches respectively. Females bare up to 29 eggs in a clutch.

Their diet is omnivorous consisting of insect larvae and zooplanktons. Its habitat is in rivers, endemic to the Ameca river basin.

8. Adriatic Sturgeon

Adriatic Sturgeon
  • Scientific name: Acipenser naccarii
  • Appearance: olive-brown dorsal appearance with a white underside. It has an elongated body, with scale-like bones across its body length.
  • Location: Albania, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia
  • Current estimated number: 250 adults. [6]

The Adriatic Surgeon weighs 88 pounds and body length of 78 inches approximately. Its diet consists mostly of larvae, gammarids, and small fish in rivers.

In seas, they feed on shrimps, crabs, vegetable matter, and mollusks. Its habitat is in deep and large rivers with strong currents.

9. Devils Hole Pupfish

  • Scientific name: Cyprinodon diabolis
  • Appearance: bright metallic blue appearance for males and a yellowish appearance for females. It also lacks pelvic fins.
  • Location: United States
  • Current estimated number: 63 adults [7]

The Devil`s Hole Pupfish is known to be critically endangered mainly due to it occurring in one location only, the Devil`s hole oasis. It is a small-bodied fish with an approximately length of 1.2 inches.

This fish has a wide carnivorous diet consisting of snails, algae, beetle, and crustaceans.

10. Red Handfish

  • Scientific name: Thymichthys politus
  • Appearance: Exists either in a bright-red appearance on its body and fins; or a pink body with red patches and pink translucent fins
  • Location: Australia
  • Current estimated number: 100 adults [8]

The red handfish is named so due to its fins that resemble human hands. These fins help move across the seafloor in a walking motion.

This fish is found occurring in sandy and rocky sea bottoms. Its diet consists mostly of worms and small crustaceans.

11. Sakhalin Sturgeon

  • Scientific name: Acipenser mikadoi 
  • Appearance: olive green and dark green with yellowish-white sides and an olive green stripe. It also has a split lower lip.
  • Location: Russia, Japan, China, Korea
  • Current estimated number: 10 to 30 adult fish [9]

The Sakhalin Sturgeon is reported to be declining and is estimated to go extinct in the next 10 to 15 years.

It was once common in Japan in the Tumin River, where it migrates, from the sea to reproduce. Its body length is up to about 59 inches

12. Ornate sleeping ray

  • Scientific name: Electolux addisoni
  • Appearance: A dark brown dorsal surface with pale yellow spots and stripes. It has spiral-like papillae, two dorsal fins, and a visually striking color pattern.
  • Location: South Africa
  • Current estimated number: Unknown

The Ornate Sleeping ray is one of the larger dish species with a weight of 64 ounces and a body length of 20 inches approximately.

The sleeper ray finds habitats in reefs and has a carnivorous diet consisting mostly of small crustaceans and some worms.

13. Pacific Bluefin Tuna

  • Scientific name: Thunnus orientalis
  • Appearance: black or dark blue dorsal appearance and a gray green shine. They also have grey or silver spotted bellies.
  • Location: Australia, Canada, China, Japan
  • Current estimated number: 10940 mt. [1]

The Pacific Bluefin Tuna is a rare type of fish that has its home in tropical and coastal regions. Reproduction for this species occurs in the Sea of Japan and the Philippine Sea.

They are warm blooded unlike other fish and can regulate their temperatures. They have an average lifespan of 15 up to 26 years.

And here is the summary of all the rare fish we’ve talked about.

Rare Types of Fish (List)

  1. Blackfin Hook-ear Sculpin
  2. Tube-eye
  3. Smalltooth Sawfish
  4. European Sea Sturgeon
  5. Kissing Loach
  6. Giant Sea Bass
  7. Tequila Splitfin
  8. Adriatic Sturgeon
  9. Devils Hole Pupfish
  10. Red Handfish
  11. Sakhalin Sturgeon
  12. Ornate sleeping ray
  13. Pacific Bluefin Tuna

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