150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

This list is still in progress and being added to weekly. Check back again soon!

150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We solicited nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

Fish nominations are now closed.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


Catchy TitleBite off more than you can chew
Common Name of FishCaribbean Sharpnose Puffer
Scientific Name of FishCanthigaster rostrata
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

On a western Atlantic reef, the Caribbean Sharpnose Puffer looks like easy prey. It's round body and somewhat small tail suggest a slow swimmer and an easy mark for a predator. But when pursued or grasped by a predator, the Sharpnose Puffer sucks water into a specialized stomach to blow up in size, quickly making the predator realize it has bitten off more than it can chew. The specialized stomach holds water separately from food, so when a predator is no longer a threat, the puffer fish can release the water it ingested without losing its last meal. If a predator was able to eat a Sharpnose Puffer, it might wish it hadn't. Like many balloonfish, the Sharpnose Puffer secretes a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. This toxin can cause paralysis or even death. So maybe blowing up to three times its original size isn't just good for the Sharpnose Puffer, it might be a blessing to potential predators too.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://sta.uwi.edu/fst/lifesciences/sites/default/files/lifesciences/images/Canthigaster_rostrata%20-%20Caribbean%20Sharpnose%20Puffer.pdf
Your NameSteve Lochmann