Does Fish Have Teeth – Types & Evolution

Does fish have teeth? Yes, fish have teeth! Most fish species have teeth on the outside of their jaws. These teeth aren’t like humans’ molars and incisors; instead, they are designed for gripping, tearing, or crushing their prey, such as insects, crustaceans, other fish like catfish, or plants.

Some species even use their teeth to wedge food between rocks. Fish also have an array of structures inside their mouths that help them capture and hold onto smaller prey items like plankton.

Most fish also have a set of pharyngeal (throat) teeth located further towards their throat area, which serve two purposes: First, they act as grinding surfaces to break down hard-shelled invertebrates into more manageable pieces. Second, they help the fish transfer food from its mouth to its stomach more effectively. 

Fish don’t normally need to worry about losing their teeth since many can regenerate new ones over time – although it’s not always guaranteed as it depends on the species and environmental conditions. Some species can regenerate new sets several times throughout their life spans! 

  • The shapes and sizes of fish teeth vary greatly depending on the diet of the species and what environment it lives in. For example, predators who feed on large animals may have sharp pointed canine-like teeth, while herbivores may have flat molar-like structures for grinding vegetation. 

Does Fish Have Teeth

This question is important because it can help us understand the evolution of life.

Types Of Fish Teeth And Their Function

1. Conical Teeth: 

These sharp, cone-shaped teeth are used for gripping and tearing food into small pieces.

2. Pharyngeal Teeth: 

Found in the throat of some fish species, these teeth help them to grind up their prey before swallowing it.

3. Villiform Teeth: 

These flat, comb-like teeth are found in many species of bony fish and are used for crushing or grinding food, such as mollusks and crustaceans.

4. Placoid Scales: 

These tooth-like scales make up the skin of sharks and rays and enable them to grip their slippery prey more easily.

How Do Fish Eat?

  • Fish use their sharp teeth to grip and tear pieces of food, depending on the prey they eat.
  • Once the food is cut up into small pieces, some fish will swallow it whole, while others will grind it up with pharyngeal teeth in their throat before swallowing.
  • Some species have specialized plated or placoid scales that can easily grasp slippery prey like eels or squid.
  • Lastly, some fish use suction-feeding mechanisms to quickly suck in food from the surrounding water column.
  • Additionally, many species rely on a combination of all these methods for feeding and eating efficiently!

Fish With Human-Like Teeth

Do fish have teeth like humans? Though most fish have specialized teeth adapted to their diet and lifestyle, some species of fish have human-like teeth. These types of fish include pacus, piranhas, and gar.

Pacus: These South American freshwater fish look much like piranhas but don’t have the same sharp teeth. Instead, they have square-shaped molars with ridges that make them look like human teeth.

Piranhas: Despite having a reputation for being fierce predators with razor-sharp teeth, adult piranhas have flat molar-like teeth that are used for crushing rather than tearing or ripping apart prey items.

Gar: These long slender fishes can be found in North American freshwater systems and have human-like teeth adapted for crushing.

Ultimately, fish have teeth, but not all look the same. Depending on their diet and lifestyle, different fish species may possess specialized shapes and structures that enable them to feed more efficiently or survive in certain habitats. 

Regardless of their shape or size, these unique adaptations are essential for the survival of many aquatic species.

Evolution In Fish Teeth

  • Teeth are an adaptation to the type of diet of the species and help them feed more efficiently.
  • Many fish possess specialized teeth or scales that enable them to better capture their prey depending on their environment.
  • Some species, such as pacus and piranhas, have human-like teeth adapted for crushing or grinding food items into smaller pieces.
  • Fish can regenerate new teeth over time, though this is not always guaranteed, depending on the species and environmental conditions.
  • Ultimately, these adaptations are essential for the survival of many aquatic species!

The Difference Between Human Teeth & Fish Teeth

1. Location:

Human teeth are located in the mouth, while fish teeth vary depending on the species and can be located anywhere from the throat to the scales of their skin.

2. Shape:

Human teeth are more uniform, whereas fish teeth can come in various shapes, such as conical, molar-like, or flat ridges.

3. Function:

Human teeth are used for chewing and biting into food, while fish use their specialized structures to capture prey and grind it up before swallowing it whole.

4. Regeneration:

Fish can regenerate new teeth over time, whereas humans typically only get one set of adult teeth that must last them a lifetime.

5. Adaptations:

Human teeth don’t typically change or evolve, while fish teeth can adapt to the environment and diet of their species.


How Many Teeth Does Fish Have?

The number of teeth a fish has depends on the species. Many freshwater and saltwater fish have small, sharp conical teeth that enable them to effectively capture and hold onto their prey. Others may possess molar-like structures for grinding or flat ridges for crushing food items into smaller pieces.

Which Fish Has No Teeth?

Some fish species, such as lampreys and hagfish, have no teeth. Instead, they rely on a rasping tongue-like structure called a ‘tongue bar’ to feed on their prey.

Why Do Gish Not Have Teeth?

Most fish have adapted to their food sources and habitats, so they may not need teeth to feed effectively. For example, some species of bottom-dwelling fish, like catfish, have a sucking disk on the underside of their head that helps them suck up their prey. Other species, like sturgeon, may lack teeth because they primarily filter feed on small organisms, so teeth don’t support them in any way.

Do Fish Have An Upper And Lower Set Of Teeth?

Many fish species do not have a true upper and lower set of teeth, as the structures are spread out over the entire jaw length. However, some species, like gar, may possess a full set of upper and lower teeth that help them better capture larger prey items.

Do Fish Lose Their Teeth?

Yes, some species of fish can lose their teeth over time depending on how they feed or their environmental conditions. However, most species can regenerate new teeth as needed, so losing a few teeth is not a major problem.


Fish teeth are an essential adaptation that has evolved to help them survive in their aquatic habitats and capture prey efficiently. Depending on the species, they come in various shapes and sizes and can be located anywhere from the throat to the scales of their skin. Even though they may look quite different from human teeth, they serve many of the same functions and are just as important for the survival of their species.