O-fish-al Art Recap

This week on the Fisheries Blog we are once again recapping some of the themes and art from the #SundayFishSketch on Twitter. If you aren’t already familiar, this hashtag invites people around the world to practice their art by sketching different fishes. Each week there is a non-mandatory fishy theme, and below we will highlight some of these themes and the resulting artistic creations. Keep reading for fish facts and fish art.


Catfishes, known for their barbels, are a very large and diverse group of fishes. They can be found in both freshwater and marine habitats, and range from being herbivores or top predators to parasites on other animals.

E, dew a Tandan catfish (Tandanus tandanus) for the catfish theme. This Australian species can reach 13 lbs and has sharp serrated venomous spines.

Bruce inked a Redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus). Adults of this South American species can reach almost 6 ft in length and are common in the aquarium trade.

Ben sketched Pseudobagrus brevianalis, a Taiwanese species of catfish.

Jayce illustrated a Brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus). A common catfish across North America, males and females of this species care for their offspring for days after hatching and can survive in a range of temperatures, heavily polluted waters, and low oxygen levels.


This theme revolved around an art challenge set by Shoal to highlight species of fish that haven’t been seen in many years, including some that may have even gone extinct. Shoal’s hope is to bring light to these fishes and to also find and conserve the populations of some of these species.

Sam highlighted the Syr Darya shovelnose (Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi). This species of sturgeon is known from Uzbekistan and hasn’t been seen since 1960.

Another species on the #LostFishes list is the Spinach pipefish (Microphis spinachioides), drawn here by Katie. Found in Papua New Guinea, these fish live in the fresh/brackish water of river deltas in the area.

Jenn illustrated the Mesopotamian barbel (Luciobarbus subquincunciatus), a species of cyprinid found in the middle east. This previously abundant fish is now very rare in it’s native river system, the Tigris-Euphrates.

Justin highlighted the Annamite barb (Hypsibarbus annamensis). This species is known from Vietnam, but hasn’t been seen since the 1930’s. Little is known about this fish, but its population decline has been hypothesized to be due to deforestation and habitat destruction in its native range.


The last theme we are highlighting focuses on fishes named after famous people. We as humans like to name things, whether it be for communication or just for fun. What better way to honor someone than naming a new fish species after them.

Tamara drew the Scruggs catfish (Acanthobunocephalus scruggsi). This species is named after Earl Scruggs, a bluegrass banjo player. This aptly named fish is from a group of catfishes known as the banjo catfishes (Aspredinidae), named due to the shape of their bodies.

Alex illustrated the Mawsoniid coelacanth (Axelrodichthys araripensis) an extinct genus named after Herbert Axelrod. Herbert was an American ichthyologist that is well known for his work on tropical fishes.

Chris went with the Seamount catshark (Bythaelurus stewarti). Found in the Indian Ocean, this species was named after the shark conservationist Rob Stewart.

Lastly, we highlight Adam’s rendition of the Ninja lanternshark (Etmopterus benchleyi). Named after Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, this shark can be found in the Pacific ocean, and grows to barely over a foot long.

Are you interested in joining the #SundayFishSketch? It is free to participate and hosts an open and welcoming community. Don’t know how to start drawing? Check out the previous blogpost  on how to draw a fish. This will give you step-by-step thing to look for when illustrating fishes, and provides other possible online resources.


What is it like to participate in the #SundayFishSketch? Just ask our artist of the month, Jenn Clausen (@JACsciart), who takes illustrating fishes to a whole other level.

How long have you been participating in the #SundayFishSketch?

I have been doing #SundayFishSketch for a little over 2 years. I initially joined Twitter in June 2019 specifically to participate in this hashtag.

Why did you decide to participate and has it been difficult to sketch on a semi-regular basis?

I had been wanting to get into scientific illustration and my husband had asked if I could draw some fish for a paper he was writing (he’s a fish biologist). I ended up loving drawing fish and he actually found the hashtag before I was even on Twitter. He convinced me to make an account and start sharing my own fish drawings, which I’m very grateful for. As far as sketching on a semi-regular basis, it really hasn’t been difficult for me because it’s what I’ve always been doing my whole life. #SundayFishSketch has become part of my weekly routine and is something I really look forward to.

Do you believe your art has improved since joining the hashtag? 

I would say my art has definitely improved since joining. The hashtag is a great way for me to not only learn about new fish I haven’t previously heard of, but to sketch fish that I wouldn’t normally consider drawing. It’s also great motivation for me to consistently practice drawing fish.

What has been your favorite theme thus far and why? 

I think my favorite theme was the one where we had to sketch a fish that doesn’t exist. It definitely put me out of my comfort zone with trying to come up with a fish anatomy that made some sense and was believable, but I could really just have fun with it without any pressure (from myself) to make the illustrated fish look accurate to its real-life counterpart. I loved just taking a random idea I had and letting my imagination take over. 

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