Different names for groups of fish depend on whether they are a single species or a mix of species.
A single group of fish is called a “shoal.”
A group of fish of the same species is called a shoal of fish. Why do we say school of fish? The school part of ” shoal of fish” comes from the old Dutch word ‘school,’ meaning ‘troop’ or ‘crowd.’ It also seems quite fitting, as the fish all work together, like a school class!
A group of mixed species of fish is called a “shoal.”
A group of fish, not the same species, is called a shoal of fish. The word ‘shoal’ comes from the Dutch word ‘school.’ A shoal of mixed fish doesn’t need to have similar characteristics either; shoals can be a mixture of fish, shrimp or jellyfish, etc. We know what you’re thinking – we wouldn’t want to swim too close to a jellyfish, either! However, when a mix of aquatic creatures floats together, it’s usually in a loose cluster, so bumping into one another isn’t a worry.
Some fish, such as gobies and clownfish, have evolved to develop skin that protects them from venomous stings, such as jellyfish or other malicious aquatic life.
Pods are herds of mammals, not fish.
You may have heard the phrase “a pod” when someone is talking about aquatic life. However, a pod is a herd of marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, walruses, or seals, not fish.
Why do fish swim in groups?
Fish swim in groups because there is safety in numbers. A big school of fish looks more potent than a single or small handful of fish! So the school moves as one, twisting and turning, looking like a big storm cloud in the water to confuse predators. It also helps them save energy because their group movement creates a slipstream force that propels them through the water more efficiently.
Other benefits of being in a fish group include the following:
- A better chance of finding food; where there’s a crowd – there’s something to eat!
- A better chance of finding a mate, or a ‘shoal mate’!
What are some facts about schools and shoals of fish?
- The active verb for schools and shoals of fish is ‘shoaling’ and ‘schooling.’
- For example, if any group of fish stays together for social reasons, they are ‘shoaling.’ On the other hand, if the group swims together in coordination, they are ‘schooling.’
- In schools, each fish keeps the same space as its neighbor.
- Schools of fish wouldn’t fit in your school classroom; they can have hundreds and thousands of members in one school!
- The size of a shoal of fish can depend on how many aquatic creatures there are in their schools, but a shoal can be as little as six fish. Most fish in aquariums or captivity form shoals.