45 - 60 minutes

Students will identify fish adaptations and discuss how these may help the fish survive in its habitat.


Background information about fish adaptations can be found in the Fact Sheet: Fish Adaptations.

Access to the internet may be useful for the introductory discussion in this lesson.

Download or print Presentation: Fish Adaptations to share with your class during this lesson. You may wish for students to complete Student Worksheet: Fish Adaptations individually or in pairs, or use it to facilitate your class discussion.

Western Australian curriculum

Science Science understanding Biological sciences ACSSU043


  1. Begin by discussing some different fish species that students are familiar with. If you have ready access to the internet, you may like to find images of the species discussed so that all students can be familiar with them. Discuss the body shape of the fish- are they all the same, or are some different? Do some fish move differently to others? Why do fish have different shapes?
  2. View the Presentation: Fish Adaptations as a class. Discuss the three types of adaptations with students – behavioural, functional and structural.
  3. As you work through the images in the presentation, ask students to look for examples of adaptations. Discuss each image as a class and also the purpose of the identified adaptations. Students may record the information from these discussions in Student Worksheet: Fish Adaptations. Points for discussion include:
    • mouth shape and position relating to the diet of the fish,
    • possessing venom or poison
    • colouration relating to their habitat and camouflage,
    • body shape relating to the swimming ability of the fish
    • any ‘strange’ action
    • fin size and shape relating to the fish’s habitat and their swimming ability, and
    • eye size relating to the depth the fish is found in.

Additional Resources

Parish, S. 2008 Amazing Facts about Australian Marine Fishes. Steve Parish Publishing, Queensland.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Bony Fishes, https://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/animal-infobooks/bony-fish


fish anatomy, features, adaptations, structural adaptations, functional adaptations, behavioural adaptations, characteristics