What Are Fish Eggs Called

What Are Fish Eggs Called

What Are Fish Eggs Called

Fish eggs are the beginning of a fish’s life cycle. When adult fish mate, the female fish produces eggs, and the male fish fertilizes them. These eggs are carefully deposited in various places, depending on the species. Some fish prefer to lay their eggs in nests built on the substrate, while others release them into the water column.

What Are Fish Eggs Called?

Fish eggs have a special name – they are called “roe.” So, whenever you hear someone mentioning fish roe, they are talking about fish eggs. The term “roe” is a collective name used for the mass of eggs produced by female fish during the reproductive process.

Types of Fish Roe

Fish roe comes in various sizes, colors, and textures, depending on the fish species. Some of the most well-known types of fish roe include:

  • Caviar: Caviar is probably the most famous and luxurious type of fish roe. It comes from the sturgeon family of fish and is renowned for its exquisite taste and high market value.
  • Salmon Roe: As the name suggests, salmon roe comes from different species of salmon. It is often bright orange in color and is used in various culinary delights.
  • Trout Roe: Similar to salmon roe, trout roe has a vibrant orange color and is considered a delicacy by many.
  • Tobiko: Tobiko is a type of fish roe originating from flying fish. It is tiny, crunchy, and comes in various colors, such as red, orange, and green, making it a popular choice for sushi lovers.

Fish Egg Reproduction 

Fish eggs are reproduced through a process called spawning, which is a form of sexual reproduction. Here’s how fish eggs are produced:


When it’s time for reproduction, male and female fish come together to mate. In some species, this process can be elaborate, involving courtship behaviors and displays to attract potential partners.

Egg Production

Female fish have specialized reproductive organs called ovaries. Inside the ovaries, eggs, also known as ova or oocytes, develop and mature. The number of eggs produced varies greatly depending on the fish species. Some fish may produce just a few eggs, while others can lay thousands or even millions of eggs during a single reproductive event.


Once the female fish releases her eggs into the water, the male fish releases sperm, also known as milt, to fertilize the eggs. This external fertilization occurs in most fish species, where the eggs and sperm meet in the water column.

Egg Dispersal

 After fertilization, the fish eggs are left to disperse in the water. Some fish species scatter their eggs freely, while others may deposit them in specific locations to provide protection and increase the chances of survival.

Egg Development

 The fertilized eggs contain all the genetic information needed to develop into new individuals. Over time, the eggs begin to develop and undergo changes that lead to the formation of embryos.


The duration of egg development varies among fish species and is influenced by environmental factors like water temperature. When the eggs reach the appropriate stage of development, they hatch, and tiny larvae emerge.

Larval Stage

 Once the eggs hatch, the larvae are free-swimming and start their journey in the aquatic environment. At this stage, they are very vulnerable and must find food and avoid predators to survive.

Juvenile to Adult

As the larvae grow, they go through various stages of development, eventually transforming into juvenile fish. The juvenile fish continue to grow and mature until they reach adulthood, and the cycle of life repeats.

Once fish eggs are fertilized, they embark on a remarkable journey. The fate of these tiny, fragile spheres is dependent on various factors, including water temperature, oxygen levels, and protection from predators.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are all fish eggs edible?

A: Many fish eggs are edible and are considered delicacies in various cuisines. Caviar, salmon roe, and tobiko are some examples of fish eggs commonly consumed as food.

Q: Are fish eggs nutritious?

A: Yes, fish eggs are highly nutritious. They are rich in essential nutrients like proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy addition to the diet.

Q: How are fish eggs used in cooking?

A: Fish eggs are used in various culinary dishes. They can be served raw, as in sushi and sashimi, or used as a garnish for salads and other dishes. Fish roe can also be processed to make spreads, sauces, and toppings.

Q: Do all fish lay eggs?

A: No, not all fish lay eggs. Some fish species give birth to live young, a process known as viviparity. Others may display other unique reproductive strategies, such as mouthbrooding, where the male fish carries the fertilized eggs in its mouth until they hatch.

Q: How many fish eggs does a female fish produce?

A: The number of eggs produced by a female fish varies greatly depending on the species. Some fish may produce only a few dozen eggs, while others can release thousands or even millions of eggs during a single reproductive event.

Q: How long does it take for fish eggs to hatch?

A: The time it takes for fish eggs to hatch varies significantly among different fish species. It can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on environmental conditions like water temperature.

Q:  How do fish protect their eggs?

A: Fish use various methods to protect their eggs. Some fish create nests on the substrate to provide a safe environment for the eggs. Others may deposit their eggs in hidden spots to avoid predators. Additionally, some fish display parental care, where one or both parents guard and protect the eggs until they hatch.

Q: Are fish eggs always the same color?

A: No, the color of fish eggs can vary depending on the fish species. For example, salmon roe is typically bright orange, while trout roe can have a similar color. However, other fish eggs, like tobiko, come in various colors, such as red, orange, and green.

Q: How long does it take for fish larvae to become adults?

A: The time it takes for fish larvae to grow into adults varies widely based on the species. Some fish may reach maturity in a matter of months, while others might take several years to become adults.

Q: Can you eat any fish eggs found in the wild?

A: It is essential to exercise caution when consuming fish eggs found in the wild. While some fish eggs are safe to eat and considered delicacies, others can be toxic. It’s best to rely on reputable sources and expert guidance when considering wild fish roe consumption.


Fish eggs, known as roe, play a crucial role in the extraordinary life cycle of fish. From their humble beginnings as tiny eggs to their transformation into magnificent adult fish, the journey of these aquatic gems is nothing short of mesmerizing. Understanding fish reproduction and the significance of fish eggs helps us appreciate the delicate balance of life in our aquatic ecosystems.