Fish scales comparing ctenoid and cycloid

Fish scales are composed of connective tissue covered with calcium.  Typically, soft-rayed fish have smooth cycloid scales and spiny-rayed fish have ctenoid scales.

Scales can be used for aging fish.  The annulii, or growth rings like on trees, are counted from the focus (where growth starts) outward.  By measuring the distance between annulii, along a radius, the growth rate of the fish can even be estimated.



FWC Facts:
Florida's largest estuary, Tampa Bay, covers 440 square miles and has more than 300 species of inshore fish.

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