Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mosquito Fish

As we prepare for the tomorrow's start of summer camp session #2 at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, we set out the minnow traps baited with sardines.  We will certainly capture a number of crayfish as we did last week, but those crayfish attracted the attention of a Lesser Siren, which is related to the camp's theme of Reptiles and Amphibians.  Other non-target species also find their way into the traps.

During our crayfish identification exercise last week, we caught over a dozen water scavenger beetles (Dytiscidae).  Apparently, they really like sardines!

Today when we set the traps, in one we found what appears to be a female Eastern Mosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki) full of young.  Members of the family Poeciliidae give birth to live young.  This species likes the vegetated areas of slow moving or calm fresh waters.  This fish was caught in the minnow trap set in the powerline right-of-way where calm water pools behind the beaver dam and ample sunlight allows plenty of vegetation to grow in the water.  The vegetation ends immediately at the treeline.  Mosquito Fish mainly eat surface-dwelling insects and their larvae.

As we care little for decaying fish and mosquitoes, we're happy to find water scavenger beetles and Mosquito Fish in our swamp!

Images by Mark Musselman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My boys 6+8 found a small lesser siren and want to keep it as a pet. We also captured some poeciliidae gold with glittery side and red tails. Can you tell me the name of this species please. Email