Learn These 20 Types of Fish in Spanish [+ More Vocab]
Here is a guide of 20 types of fish in Spanish for you to practice the language as you explore useful fish vocabulary!
Latin America—especially the countries of Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica—has some of the best sports for fishing in the world due to its biodiversity and kind ecosystems.
As food, all of the fish types in this curated list are filled with nutrients and good news. The ones I skipped are those associated with mercury contamination like:
- Shark – El tiburón
- Swordfish – El pez espada
- Tilefish – El blanquillo
- Mackerel – La macarela
Fishing and fish in Spanish can seem a little tricky, but you shouldn’t let the language barrier take you away from an experience like this. The fishing and traveling are just too good to miss.
Although learning words and phrases is just a start, it can take you a long way—especially if you practice consistently on your pronunciation and learn some useful slang. At the end of this article, I will tell you how. I promise it’s nothing fishy!
Let’s learn more about fish in Spanish!
Table of Contents:
- Types of Fish in Spanish
- Vocabulary Related To Fish in Spanish
- Example Sentences of Fish in Spanish
- Don’t Be Fishy—Keep Studying Spanish!
Types of Fish in Spanish
Before we dive into this lesson about fish in Spanish you should know a very important thing. Fish translates to pez if it is in the water but to pescado if it’s on the menu. El pez (singular) or los peces—remember the z changes to c when it becomes plural—are those that can swim freely, whether it is in the wild or in a fish tank.
On the other hand, the word pescado is the past participle of the verb pescar, meaning the little one has already been caught or “fished.”
Let’s see these two words in action:
¡Vamos a ver peces en el acuario!
Let’s see the fish at the aquarium!
Voy a pedir pescado y papas.
I’m going to have fish and chips please.
This blog post is all about the species of fish who are alive, in lakes and rivers, and alive in either agua salada (salt water) or agua dulce (fresh water). Here are some of them:
Check-out: Sports Fishing in Mexico
1. Swai – El pescado basa
The swai or basa fish is nativo (native) to China and Thailand but you can find it today in Mexico, India, Cuba, US, Puerto Rico, Chile, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Guam, and Singapore. People know it to be one of the peces gato or catfish of freshwater.
2. Bass – El robalo, la lubina
You can find the robalo in the costas rocosas y arenales (rocky and sandy shores) of saltwater. Principally in the Atlantic ocean, from Dakar in Africa all the way up to Norway. They get closer to the shores as the clima (weather) gets warmer, and always in depths of 33 ft to 50 ft (10 mt to 50 mt).
3. Halibut – El hipogloso, el rodaballo
This interesting Atlantic fish can live close to the superficie (surface) or between 164 ft and 6562 ft (50 mt and 2000 mt) of depth in saltwater. People often confuse it with sole or lenguado, but they are not even part of the same family. You might consider checking an authorized spot to fish this one because it is in danger of extinction.
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4. Jellyfish – La medusa
Jellyfish are present in every ocean of the world and they can live in aguas árticas (arctic waters) or aguas cálidas (warm waters). These planktonic organisms are normally part of the saltwater ecosistemas (ecosystems) but you can also find them in freshwater.
5. Salmon – El salmón
Salmon are born in freshwater, migran (migrate) to the oceans and come back to the exact place where they are from to procrear (procreate). You can find them in every ocean of the world.
6. Tuna – El atún
El atún rojo (red tuna) is commonly found in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. El atún de aleta amarilla (the yellow fin tuna) lives in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean.
The one known as the bonito del norte or “pretty of the North” is in the Atlantic Ocean from the Bizcayan Gulf to South Africa, and sometimes in the Mediterranean and Pacific Ocean. Tropical tuna is found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean.
7. Cod – El bacalao
The cod is a white fish of saltwater. The habitat of the cod is at 1640 ft to 1970 ft (500 mt to 600 mt) of profundidad or depth. You can find it in the North Atlantic from North Carolina to Greenland, as well as the North and Baltic seas. Although the largest cod fishing grounds are near the Arctic.
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8. Anchovy – La anchoa, el boquerón
The anchovies are from the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Ocean, el mar Mediterráneo (the Mediterranean sea) and large saltwater and freshwater lakes.
9. Catfish – El bagre
From 2,200 catfish subspecies, more than 1,200 live in sudamérica (South America). Two of the families are from saltwater and the rest is from freshwater. Most catfish are carroñeros nocturnos (nocturnal scavengers) and live near the bottom in agua poco profunda (shallow water).
10. Sole – El lenguado
The sole is a plano (flat), white fish of saltwater. It lives in sandbanks or fondos lodosos (muddy bottoms), where it only exposes the eyes at a depth of 328 ft or 100 mt.
11. Trout – La trucha
The trout live in clean, clear, cold waters of rivers and lakes. Originally it comes from Europe, Northern Africa, and part of Asia. This freshwater blue fish can reach 2.6 ft (80 cm) long and weigh seven pounds. Its carne (flesh) can be pink or white according to its dieta (diet).
12. Flounder – La platija
Flounders are very flat fish that inhabit European coasts from the White sea to the Mediterranean and the Black sea as well.
13. Herring – El arenque
The herring family covers 15 species of blue fish from the templada (warm), shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic sea. When the sun fades away, the arenque rises to feed with plancton (plankton). They have dientes pequeños (small teeth) but mother nature compensated them with gills that double function as mouths to capture tiny sea animals.
The female herring lays over 41,000 huevos (eggs) a year and scatters them in water. The eggs are deposited on the seabed and many are swallowed by predators. Those that manage to survive are born to reach the surface when attracted by the luz (light).
14. Mahi Mahi – El dorado
Along the Pacific Ocean in North America, the mahi mahi or el dorado inhabits warm waters. It has spread all over the world but a great spot to find them is in the Gulf of California and the Caribbean Gulf, both in Mexico, and Costa Rica. Come (it feeds) close to the surface wherever it finds a sombra (shadow).
15. Perch – La perca
The perch is a freshwater fish from lakes and creeks but it can adapt to aguas salinas (saline waters) as well. You can find it in Europe and Asia, but it has also been introduced in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. You can see this predator more specifically in the Baltic sea and the Botnia sea.
16. Sardines – Las sardinas
From Senegal to Norway, sardines are all over the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean, Cantabric, and North sea. It is abundante (abundant) along the entire Spanish costa (coast), in case your upcoming sports fishing trip is heading there.
17. Haddock – El eglefino
You can tell the eglefino apart due to the two black manchas (spots) on its neck. They are a natural beauty, their white belly, silver laterals and violet back make them something to see. Find them in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Norway coast.
18. Grouper – El mero
The mero or grouper inhabits aguas tropicales (tropical waters) in the coasts of Brazil and Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean as well as some of the Pacific and the Mediterranean sea. They live near rocky surfaces, cuevas (caves), and agujeros (holes) at 33 ft (10 m) of depth.
Check-out: Vocabulary Guide to Seafood in Spanish
19. Hake – La merluza
All of the species of the hake family live in South America, mainly in Argentina, Peru, and Chile, passing through the seas of Valparaiso to the Strait of Magellan.
20. Snapper – El pargo
The snapper belongs to the Atlantic Ocean from the British islas (islands) to the south of Argentina. It inhabits subtropical zones in either deep or shallow marine grounds.
Vocabulary Related To Fish in Spanish
If you want to feel comfortable talking about fish in Spanish, I’m afraid that fish species are not enough. You also need to know about gear, places, and such.
So here is some vocabulary that will make you feel like a fish in the sea. In the next section you will find example sentences using these words:
|bank of fish||el banco de peces|
|shoal of fish||el cardumen|
|species of fish||las especies de peces|
|types of fish||los tipos de peces|
|breaded fish||el pescado empanizado|
|fish filet||el filete de pescado|
|fish of the day||el pescado del día|
|fish with garlic||el pescado al mojo de ajo|
|types of seafood||los tipos de mariscos|
Fishing and Equipment
|boat||el bote, la lancha|
|fishing bait||la carnada|
|fishing boat||la lancha de pescar|
|fishing license||la licencia de pescar|
|fishing rod||la caña de pescar|
|fishing spots||los lugares para pescar|
|tackle||el equipo de pesca|
|to catch a fish||atrapar un pez|
Parts of a Fish in Spanish
|dorsal fin||la aleta dorsal|
|gill covers||las cubiertas branquiales|
|lateral line||la línea lateral|
|nostril||la fosa nasal|
|pectoral fin||la aleta pectoral|
|pelvic fin||la aleta pélvica|
|tail fin, caudal fin||la aleta caudal|
Water Bodies and Fishing Spots
Example Sentences of Fish in Spanish
Here are some example sentences of fish in Spanish, where you will discover how to use the words above. These are perfect for practicing what to say and interchanging phrases to adapt them to your experience.
Encontré un banco de peces de colores.
I found a bank of colorful fish.
Hay muchos tipos de peces en el mundo.
There are many types of fish in the world.
De todas las especies de peces, ¿cuál es tu favorito?
Of all species of fish, which is your favorite?
Voy a pedir el pescado empanizado, y mi mamá quiere el filete de pescado.
I will have a breaded fish, and my mom wants the fish filet.
Vi el pescado al mojo de ajo en el menú.
I saw the fish with garlic on the menu.
Me encantan todos los tipos de mariscos.
I love all types of seafood.
Entra en el bote después de recoger todos los carretes.
Get inside the boat after collecting all the reels.
Puedes encontrar los mejores lugares para pescar en México y Costa Rica.
You can find the best fishing spots in Mexico and Costa Rica.
No te preocupes, tengo un anzuelo extra para que lo uses.
Don’t worry, I have a spare hook for you to use.
Voy a rentar unas canoas por el día.
I will rent some canoes for the day.
El pescador tiene que lanzar una carnada.
The fisherman has to cast a bait.
Navegamos pero no pescamos porque no tenemos licencias para pescar.
We navigated but didn’t fish because we don’t have fishing licenses.
¿Puedo usar tu caña de pescar por un momento?
Can I use your fishing rod for a moment?
Ve como la aleta dorsal es muy distinta de la aleta caudal.
See how the dorsal fin is very different from the caudal fin.
¿Qué pez te gusta más, el que tiene manchas o el de las rayas?
What fish do you like best, the one with spots or the one with stripes.
Asegúrate de quitarle todas las escamas para que no te lastimes mientras comes.
Be sure to take off all the scales so they don’t hurt you while eating.
Algunas personas se comen los ojos de los pescados.
Some people eat the eyes of the fish.
Te espero en la bahía antes de entrar al golfo.
I will wait for you in the bay before entering the gulf.
La tienda de pesca está cerca del riachuelo.
The fishing store is near the creek.
Puedes navegar por el canal de Xochimilco en la Ciudad de México, pero no puedes pescar ahí.
You can navigate the Xochimilco canal in Mexico City but you can’t fish there.
El mar negro era un antiguo e importante punto comercial.
The black sea was an ancient and important commercial spot.
Puedes oír el sonido que los renacuajos hacen en el pantano.
You can listen to the noise tadpoles make in the swamp.
Don’t Be Fishy—Keep Studying Spanish!
If you were looking for a lesson about fish in Spanish because you were worried about the language barrier, let me say Latin Americans are very hospitable and helpful. People will try their best to understand what you say and need during your fishing trip to the beautiful coasts of Mexico, Central and South America.
The Spanish language is a great second language option as it has more than 580 million speakers and it is the world’s most spoken one after Mandarin and Hindi. With the difference that most native speakers of those languages concentrate in one country while Spanish is spread throughout 22.
Imagine going on a trip to a Hispanic country and knowing the local language, understanding everything that is happening all the time, asking for tips and chatting with locals. Absorb a wonderful fishing experience, while getting to know other cultures and making life-long friends.
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