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Getty © What's the difference between a shoal, a school and a pod?

What’s the difference between a shoal, a school and a pod?

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Groups of aquatic life get classified depending on whether they are a single type or mixture of species, or whether they are fish or mammals.

Asked by: Hannah McBride, Southend


When fish, shrimp or other aquatic creatures swim together in a loose cluster, this is typically called a shoal. It can be a mix of different species. A school is a group of the same fish species swimming together in synchrony; turning, twisting and forming sweeping, glinting shapes in the water. Fish probably do this to confuse predators and to save energy (by using the ‘slipstreams’ of other fish). Pods are herds of marine mammals including whales, dolphins, walruses and seals.

Are fish in a shoal all the same age? © Getty Images


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Dr Helen Scales is a marine biologist, broadcaster and science writer. She is the author of Spirals in Time and The Brilliant Abyss.


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