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Wildlife Fact File - Fish - Pgs. 41-47

Wildlife Fact File - Fish - Pgs. 41-47

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Published by ClearMind84
Sunfish, American Paddlefish, John Dory, Puffer Fish, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Porcupine Fish, Hammerhead Shark
Sunfish, American Paddlefish, John Dory, Puffer Fish, Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Porcupine Fish, Hammerhead Shark

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Published by: ClearMind84 on Jan 23, 2013
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SUNFISH
ORDER
Perciformes
FAMILY
Centrarchidae
GROUP
4:
FISH
GENERA
Lepomis, Elassoma,
etc.
Sunfish
are
some
of
the most
familiar
freshwater fish. They belongto a family
that
was originally found only in North America
but
has
now
been introduced in Europe
andother
parts
of
the world.
KEY
FACTS
SIZE
Length:
1
~
-15
in., depending onthe species.BREEDINGSexual
maturity:
Usually 2 years.
Breeding
season: Late spring
to
early summer.
No.
of
eggs:
Many
thousand.
Hatching time:
2-10 days, depending on the species
as
well
as
the temperature.LIFESTYLE
Habit:
Mainly solitary. Territorial
during
the breeding
season
.
Diet
:Insect larvae, crustaceans,and
other
small aquatic animals.Lifespan: 7-8 years.RELATED
SPECIES
The family
Centrarchidae
contains 32species
of
sunfish, crappie, and
bass.
They
are
native only in
North
Ameri
ca,
but
some have been introducedin other parts
of
the world.
FEATURE
S
OF
SUN
FI
SH
Bluegill,
Lepomis
macrochirus
:
Can
be
i
dentifie
d
by
th
e
arge
da
rk
sp
otat
the
re
arof
i
ts
do
rsal
fin
.
The
b
ree
ding
ma
le
h
as
an
orange
r
ed
br
east
an
d
blue
on
hi
s
he
ad
an
db
ack
.E
ar
flap
:
Has
a
blackmarkin
mo
st
su
nfis
hspeci
es
.T
he
coloring
is u
sed
f
ordispl
ay.
~.
MCMXCII IMP
BV
/IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILE
'"
Range
of
sunfish.
DISTRIBUTIONFoundinmost freshwater
areas
inthe eastern half
of
North
America,
from
southern CanadatotheGulf Coast,andin California's Cen
tr
al
Valley.CONSERVATIONSunfish are abundantinfreshwater habitats
throughout
theirrange, exceptinplaceswhereindustrial pollution
has
destroyed
the
environment.
PRINTED
IN
U.S.A.
Dorsal
fin
:
Characterized
by
many
stou
t
spines
,
espe
cially
t
oward
the
f
ront.Pumpkinseed,
L
epomis
gibbosus
:
D
stinguished
by
i
ts
l
ar
g.e
siz
e
and
Ue w
avy
b
ue
lin
es
on
he
s
id
eofthe
male
's
a
ce
.
0160200931 PACKET
93
 
Sunfish are
abundant
in
most
freshwater
habitats
in
eastern North America. The
common names
of
differentspecies
donot
always
include
the
word
sunfish.
Twofamiliar sunfish are the
pumpkinseed
and
the bluegill.The
warmouth
and
the flier are
two
other
sunfish.
~
HABITS
Sunfish occur
throughout
theeastern half
of North
Americain weedy ponds, slow-movingstreams, and marshes. A
few
species
have specialized requirements.
For
example, the blackbanded sunfish
lives
only
in
veryacid water
in
East
Coast
pine
bar-
rens
(sandy plains with pines).During most
of
the
year,
sunfish forage by themselves
for
crustaceans and insects. But inlate spring, during the breeding
season, several species
form
what
seem
to
be nesting colonies,
with
the males crowdingtogether in suitably warm,
shal-
low
water. During the long pe-riod
of
inactivity
that
comeswith winter, a few
species
gather in small schools.A
number of
sunfish species
are
fairly
brightly
colored during the breeding season. Themales
are
usually more colorfulthan the females, and they
use
their hues to warn rivals awaywhile creating and defendingtheir nesting territories. The females have no need for
bright
colors. They visit the nests onlybriefly to lay eggs, showing nofurther interest in the raising
of
their young. Unlike the aggres
sive
males, the females seldomengage in any sort
of
combat.
~
FOOD
&;
FEEDING
All
species
of
sunfish feed most-
lyon
aquatic insects and crustaceans.
Many
vary their diet
with
mollusks and small fish
of
other species.
At
the height
of
summer,
when
oxygen levels inthe water
are
low
and animallife
is
scarce, a
number of
sunfish supplement their diet
with
the
leaves
and juicy stems
of
aquatic plants.
Left:
The
female
bluegill and
non-breeding
male
lackthe
bright
colors
of
the
breeding
male.
DIDYOU KNOW?
• The Everglades
pygmy
sunfish
is
thesmallest
memberof
the sunfish family.It
is
nevermorethanone and one-halfinches
long
.Theredearsunfish
is
veryfond
of
snails and
has
speci
al
teethforcrushing them.
As
aresult, many people callthisfish the"shellcracker."The black-banded sunfish
is
not
onlynativeto the
East
but
also
common
inmuch
of
that
area
.But when streams andThe pumpkinseed and someother sunfish may prey on theyoung of their own
species.
Theresult
of
this cannibalism
is
that
there are often fewer adults ina pond. But because these sunfish have already eaten many
of
the fish that
might
have competed
with them for
food, theyare usually well fed and largerthan other sunfish
species.
Theylay more eggs than they
might
otherwise. Enough young survive to maintain the population.pondsneed restocking,the
new
fish
are
imported
from
Germany,where thissunfish
is
an
introducedspecies.• TheSacramento perch
is
theonly
memberof
the sunfishfamily
not
found
ineastern
North
America.It
is
native
to
California'sCentral Valley.
Because
they
are
attractiveand
easy
to
keepin captivity,sunfish-especially brightlycolored
species-are
popularaquarium fish.
~
BREEDING
When the
water
starts
towarm
up in the spring, the male bluegill, like most male sunfish, prepares a nest in shallow waternear the shore.
He uses his
tail
to
fan away dead
plant
matter.After he
has
exposed a saucershaped
area
of
sand
that
is
two
to
three feet in diameter,
he
is
ready
for
the visit
of
females.A single female
may
deposit
as
many
as
38,000 eggs, andfrequently more
than
one female
lays
her eggs in a nest.The male fertilizes
the
eggs beforethey
drop into the
sand.
Left:
The
pump-kinseed
is
larger
than the bluegilland
is less
likely
to
be found
in
open
water.
It
prefers
to
stay
in
weed patches
or
near underwater
logs.
It
has
wavyblue
lines
with
orang
sh
patchesand a bright
redor
orange spot
on
the back
of
its
ear
flap.
Left:
The
redear
sunfish
is
wide-
spread
in
theSouth.
It
is
simi
-
lar to
the
blue-gill
but
can be
distinguished bythe
reddish or
orangish patch
on
its ear
flap.
One
of
the
local
names
for
this
fish is
"stump-
knocker.
II
The bluegill's eggs hatch in
less
than a week,
but
the eggs
of
some
other
species may take
up to
10 days. The male guardsthe small
fry
(young)
for
a fewdays before they
drift
away tobegin life ontheirown.Pygmy
sunfish-tiny,
colorfulspecies
that
live in swamps andmarshes in the
Southeast-donot
have the strength to sweepaway dead vegetation for their
nests.
Instead, the male
uses
thismaterial to build a
nest.
He
thenguards
his
nest and eggs much
as
his
larger relatives do.
~
l
i
~
NATUREWATCH
It
is
easiest
to
see su
n
fish
duringtheirbreeding
season
inlatespringorearly summer. Atthis timethemale guards
his
nestin theshallowwater
of
a slow-moving streamorpond.Thenest
is
usually acircular
area
of
white or yel
low
sand sweptcleanof de bris.If you watch the nest long enough,i
ts
ownerwi
ll
appear,readytodriveaway fish
that
might
eattheeggs.
 
""
CARD
42
AMERICAN PADDLEFISH
ORDER
Acipenseriformes
FAMILY
Po/yodontidae
GROUP4:
FI
SH
GENUS &
SPECIES
Po/yodon
spathu/a
The
American paddlefish was thought
tobe
a shark when
it
wasdiscovered
in
the18thcentury.
This
strangefreshwater
fish
has apaddle-shapedsnout
that
is
about
one-third its
total
length.
KEY
FACTS
~
SIZES
Length: Up
to
7 feet.
Weight:
Up
to 200
pounds.
~
BREEDINGSexual
maturity:
7-8
years.
Breeding season: February
to
May.No.
of
eggs:
Several
hundred.
Hatching
time:
5-10 days.
(5)
LIFESTYLEHabit: Solitary except during theegg-laying season.Diet: Insect larvae, planktonic crus-taceans, and various other smallaquatic animals.Lifespan: Up
to
30 years.
~
RELATED SPECIES
The only
other member
of
the fami-ly
Po/yodontidae
is
the Chinese stur-geon,
Psephurus
g/adius,
which livesin the Yangtze
River.
DISTRIBUTIONFoundin
the
drainage systems
of
the Mississippi and Missouri rivers,rangingwest
as
far
as
Montana and southtotheGulf Coast
of
Texas,
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.CONSERVATIONTheAmerican paddlefish
is
declininginmost
of
itsrange be
cause
of
fishingand
the
effects
of
dams, the channelization
of
rivers, silting, and pollution.
FEATURES
OF
THEAMERICANPADDlEFISH
Gill
cover
:
As
i
ts
name
suggests
,
this
largeflapcovers the
gills
.It
extends
from
behindthe
eyes
.........
i I I I I C ; ~
E
~~_'Y"
back
into
a
point.
Tail
:
The
primitive
nature
of
thepaddle
fish
is
evident
in
he
way
thebackboneextends
into
the upper lobe of the
tail.
In
most
modern
fish
,
thebackbone
does
not
go
into
the
ta
il.
©
MCMXCII IMP BV/IMP INC WILDLIFE FACT FILETM PRINTED
IN
U.S.A.
snout
t
hat gives thefish
i
ts
name
may
be
2f
eet
or more
in
length
.
It
is
covered
with
hundredsoftaste buds
,
andthesesense
organs
may help
t
he
fishfind food
.
0160200891 PACKET 89

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