Explore 30+ Fish That Start With B

What do Betta Fish Eat - Row of Betta Fish
© panpilai paipa/Shutterstock.com

Written by Em Casalena

Updated: November 7, 2023

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Have you ever wondered how many fish start with B? Since there are over 20,000 different types or species of fish out there, it’s hard to determine just how many start with the letter B when it comes to common names, scientific names, etc. However, we do know of a handful of fish that start with B that might just pique your interest. Common fish that begin with the letter B include betta fish, brook trout, bull shark, bluefin tuna, bowfin, butterflyfish, bluegill, blue catfish, bonefish, buri, and basking shark. Read on to take a closer look at these amazing fish!

1. Betta Fish

Classification: Betta splendens 

The betta fish is a small and fascinating species that stands out for its stunning look. It is sometimes referred to as the Siamese fighting fish. Bettas are native to Southeast Asia and are visually stunning due to the variety of vivid hues they exhibit, including red, blue, green, and yellow. Their attractiveness is enhanced by the flowing fins on which there are delicate filaments and fascinating designs.

The betta fish’s extraordinary capacity to radically flare its gills and stretch its fins is what makes it so distinctive. This activity demonstrates the fish’s territorial character and is displayed during courting displays or when they feel threatened. Males in particular are referred to as “fighting fish” because of their aggressive behavior against other males.

Additionally, bettas have a labyrinth organ that enables them to breathe in atmospheric air. By gulping air from the water’s surface, they are able to survive in water settings devoid of oxygen, such as shallow brooks. They stand out from many other fish species because of their ability to quite literally breathe real air. Betta fish have gained popularity as house pets and enthralled fans all over the world with their stunning colors, flowing fins, and incredible adaptations. 

pet betta fish tanks

Betta fish (pictured) are known for their vibrant colors, but only males of this species have large, flowing fins.

©panpilai paipa/Shutterstock.com

2. Brook Trout

Classification: Salvelinus fontinalis

Brook trout are freshwater fish native to eastern North America. Anglers hold this species in the highest regard and adore it for its exceptional features and appearance. The brook trout has an eye-catching color pattern with a dark greenish-brown body covered in complex red and blue spot patterns. Its fins often have white leading edges, which enhances its appealing look.

The brook trout is unique in that it prefers pure, cold-water habitats like alpine streams and crystal-clear lakes. It is seen as a representation of pure and wholesome freshwater environments. These trout are valued catches for fly fishermen because of their extraordinary power and mobility. To put it simply, these fish can fling themselves into the air to fight off an angler with a lot of power!

The brook trout also possesses a unique pattern known as “par” markings. In order to fit in with their environment, younger fish develop worm-like markings down their flanks. These markings progressively disappear as the animals become older and are replaced by the species’ distinctive bright colors and dots.

Brook Trout

Brook trout (pictured) are well-known for their freckled body and visual appeal among fishermen around the world.

©Slowmotion GLI/Shutterstock.com

3. Bull Shark

Classification: Carcharhinus leucas

Now this is one fish that starts with B that you do not want to mess with! The bull shark is a  fearsome and intriguing creature that lives in rivers and coastal waterways all across the world. This species of shark is distinct from other sharks due to its aggressive nature and adaptability, as well as a number of other qualities.

The bull shark’s thick, muscular body may grow to a length of up to 11 feet. Its heft is one of its distinguishing characteristics. Its wide, flat nose and stocky body are where its name comes from. The bull shark can blend in with many aquatic surroundings thanks to its color, which ranges from gray to bronze.

The astonishing capacity of the bull shark to flourish in both freshwater and saltwater settings is what makes it particularly unique. The bull shark, in contrast to other sharks, has a unique gland that aids in controlling the amount of salt in its body. This enables it to go far upstream and cross estuaries, rivers, and even freshwater lakes. It is one of the few shark species capable of surviving at low salinities.

Bull shark

The bull shark (pictured) is one of the most dangerous species of shark, coupled with the fact that it can survive in freshwater and saltwater environments.


4. Bluefin Tuna

Classification: Thunnus thynnus

The bluefin tuna is a gorgeous and highly sought-after species with a unique niche in the marine life community. It is renowned for its enormous size, sleek form, and exceptional swimming ability.

The sleek, muscular body of the bluefin tuna has a brilliant blue-black back that eventually gives way to a silvery-white belly. It can swim incredibly fast thanks to its streamlined form and tapering tail fin. Some members of this apex predator’s species can grow to be over 10 feet long and weigh upwards of 500 pounds.

The bluefin tuna is distinguished by its extraordinary speed and stamina. It is well known that these extraordinary fish migrate across oceans in search of food and favorable mating habitats. They are constructed for speed and can accelerate quickly to speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Bluefish tuna swims in the ocean with a fishing net in the background

Bluefin tuna (pictured) are considered apex predators in their native environments.

©Alexius Sutandio/Shutterstock.com

5. Bowfin

Classification: Amia calva

The bowfin fish is a rare and ancient species that occupies a unique position in the world of freshwater fish. This species of fish stands out among its aquatic relatives thanks to its distinctive look and intriguing traits.

The bowfin has a long dorsal fin that runs the length of its back and a cylindrical body. Its mottled olive-brown coloring serves as a good form of camouflage in watery environments. Its enormous jaw, which is packed with sharp teeth and gives it a predatory edge, is its most striking characteristic.

The bowfin fish is also unique because of its capacity to endure in environments with low oxygen levels. It can draw oxygen from the air thanks to its gills and a gas bladder, which is an organ that resembles a rudimentary lung. The bowfin can live in sluggish environments with low oxygen levels where other fish species struggle to survive because of this adaption.

The bowfin fish are opportunistic predators and consume a wide range of food, including fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. They are renowned for being very protective of their nests and young. The female bowfin lays its eggs in circular nests that the male bowfin constructs and guards. These are some seriously cool, rare fish!

Bowfin swimming just above riverbed

©Miroslav Halama/Shutterstock.com

6. Butterflyfish

Classification: Chaetodontidae family

Butterflyfish are a mesmerizing family of marine fish that are distinguished by their distinctive patterns and vivid colors. These exotic creatures have a distinctive look and various characteristics that set them apart from other creatures that live in coral reefs.

The term “butterflyfish” comes from the shape of its body, which is laterally compressed and has a disk-like appearance that resembles a butterfly’s wings. They often have elaborate patterns and striking marks, as well as brilliant hues that span from yellow and orange to blue and black. 

The close relationship that butterflyfish have with coral reefs is what really sets them apart. They are dependent on these complex ecosystems for both food and shelter, and they often have very particular nutritional needs. They eat mostly coral polyps, tiny crustaceans, and algae. Butterflyfish populations are great indicators of the health and ecological balance of the reefs because of their close relationship with them.

Intriguing social behaviors are also displayed by butterflyfish, who sometimes form pairs or small groups. These monogamous couples participate in courting rituals and territorial defense, which further adds to their allure.

Easter Island butterflyfish (Chaetodon litus)

Butterflyfish (pictured) can come in a wide range of colors, from vibrant and bright yellows to more muted grey-blues like the specimen above.

©Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

7. Bluegill

Classification: Lepomis macrochirus

The freshwater fish called bluegills have a specific and special role in angling and leisure fishing. The bluegill is a very popular and prized catch among fishermen because of its unusual look and temperament.

On their top surfaces, bluegills’ brilliant hues range from olive-green to blueish, fading to yellow or silver on their bellies. They have a spherical, laterally compressed body. Behind their gills, they have a black opercular flap that is commonly described as an “ear” or “gill cover,” which is an identifying characteristic of this species. Bright vertical bars that run along the sides of bluegills further contribute to their fishy beauty.

Bluegills are considered unique due to their ravenous eating habits and willingness to group together in huge schools. They are opportunistic predators that eat aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and insects. Anglers can easily catch bluegills since they are recognized for being eager to bite on a variety of fishing baits.

A distinctive feature of bluegills is the dark spot at the end of their dorsal fin.

Bluegills (pictured) are very popular fish among anglers due to its unique look and ease to catch.

©Clint H/Shutterstock.com

8. Blue Catfish

Classification: Ictalurus furcatus

The blue catfish is a sizable and attractive species of freshwater fish. It is prized for its size, power, and striking look. The blue catfish is a native of North America, particularly the Mississippi River basin, and it has a unique place in the hearts of fishermen worldwide.

The term “blue catfish” refers to the fish’s distinctive bluish-gray coloring, which is seen throughout its muscular and elongated body. They have smooth, scale-free skin that is covered in a mucus layer for protection and to add to their slimy appearance. Specimens of this species have been known to grow to lengths of over five feet and weights of over 100 pounds.

The blue catfish is unique due to its propensity for predation and adaptability. They feed on a variety of food, including fish, crabs, and even small animals when the opportunity arises. They can easily trap and eat their prey because of their powerful jaws and very sharp teeth.

Blue catfish

The blue catfish (pictured) is an adaptable predator known for eating just about anything in their path.

©Billy Ogle/Flickr – Original / License

9. Bonefish

Classification: Albula vulpes

The elusive and highly sought-after bonefish is found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions, particularly in shallow tropical and subtropical seas. The bonefish is well-known among fly fishing aficionados and has certain qualities that make it a valued catch.

The sleek and thin body of the bonefish is built for speed and agility. Because of their usual silvery-gray coloring, they can blend in with the sand bottoms of their environment. The term “bonefish” refers to the fish’s complex skeleton, which is made up of countless little bones that let them move around with great agility.

The extraordinary swimming prowess of bonefish and their reputation as one of the hardest sportfish to capture are what make them unique. They challenge the patience and expertise of fishermen with their blazing first runs and acrobatic jumps when caught. Additionally, bonefish are quite suspicious by nature and have good vision, so accurate and stealthy presentations are crucial for a successful catch.


The bonefish (pictured) might look a bit silly, but this species is beloved among fly fishermen due to its powerful swimming prowess and incredible speed.


10. Buri 

Classification: Seriola quinqueradiata

The buri fish is a noteworthy species with gastronomic and cultural value in Japan is the buri fish. The buri fish distinguishes itself from other marine species due to its culinary merits.

Buri fish can move quickly through the waves of the ocean thanks to their elongated bodies and streamlined shapes. They have a vivid golden-yellow coloring that gets darker as they get older. They are visually appealing and distinctive because of this vibrant coloration.

The buri fish is unique because of its gastronomic popularity. It is prized as a delicacy in Japan and is especially sought after for its tasty, creamy meat. Buri is often eaten as sashimi, grilled, or in meals that are cooked, demonstrating its adaptability and mouthwatering flavor.

The buri fish is also renowned for traveling long distances. It travels far during seasonal migrations, swimming to appropriate breeding areas. The mystique and attraction of this species are increased by this behavior. The buri fish maintains a distinct position in both marine ecosystems and Japanese cuisine, embodying both natural wonder and culinary joy thanks to its remarkable appearance, culinary prowess, and migratory behaviors.

The buri fish or Seriola quinqueradiata against a white background.

The buri fish (pictured) is considered a delicacy in places like Japan.

©funny face/Shutterstock.com

The Largest Fish That Starts with B

The basking shark, also known as Cetorhinus maximus, is widely considered to be the largest fish that starts with B alive today. This monstrous shark is known for its massive mouth that it uses to slurp up plankton in the ocean. It is one of the few plankton-eating sharks alive today and can reach a length of up to 26 on average, but they have been known to reach a whopping 46 feet. That’s one heck of a big fish!

The basking shark isn’t just the largest fish that starts with B, but it is also considered the second largest fish in the world, following behind the whale shark. Despite being so large, they have a tendency to be very slow and steady swimmers.

Additional Fish That Start with the Letter B

Common NameScientific Name
BassMicropterus salmoides
BluefishPomatomus saltatrix
BarracudaSphyraena genus
Blue sharkPrionace glauca
BichirPolypteridae family
BlobfishPsychrolutes marcidus
Bluntnose minnowPimephales notatu
BlackfishDallia pectoralis
BurbotLota lota
BullheadAmeiurus melas
Blacktip reef sharkCarcharhinus melanopterus
BlackchinNotropis heterodon
Black scalyfinParma alboscapularis
Brook lampreyLampetra planeri
Blue-redstripe danioDanio albolineatus var. pulcher
Bonnethead sharkSphyrna tiburo
BreamAbramis brama
BillfishMakaira nigricans
BatfishOgcocephalidae family
Barbeled houndsharkLeptocharias smithii
Bigscale pomfretTaractichthys longipinnis

How cool are all of these fish that start with B? There are many more fish that start with B, of course, but these picks are definitely our favorites!

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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