When you think of fish, you probably don’t visualize a gap-toothed grin. Odds are you picture a pursed pair of lips swimming in an aquarium. So, do fish have teeth under their puckered pouts? Read on to find out the real answer!
All fish have teeth. Specific types of swimmers—like goldfish—hide their pearly whites near the back of their throats. Similar to shark teeth, goldfish lose and replace teeth throughout their lifetime.
Check out some of the most interesting types of fish teeth:
Sheepshead teeth look just like ours—at least at first glance. They have two rows of molars in their lower jaws and three rows in their upper jaws. A sheepshead also has incisors at the front of the jaw and grinding teeth in the back of their jaw to expertly pulverize prey. And sheepshead fish steal more than our smiles—they are notorious for stealing bait.
A relative of the piranha, pacu teeth are much more square than their biting brothers. Their human-like chompers are due to their diet—pacu fish are omnivores and prefer to eat vegetables.
The northern pike is a voracious feeder that finds most creatures – even squirrels – fair game. Pike also lose teeth. Because you’re less likely to reel in a northern during the “dog days” of summer, some anglers assume northern pike shed all their teeth at this time. But, worn out or broken teeth are replaced as they are lost by growing new teeth alongside the old ones. The real truth? The northern pike’s food supply peaks in August making them less likely to fall for the bait.
*Updated August 2021