|Florida Fish: Miscellaneous Fish (2)|
This is a group of miscellaneous freshwater fish found in Florida. The
group contains the American Eel, American Shad, Atlantic Sturgeon,
Bowfin, Golden Shiner, Mosquito Fish, Shortnose Sturgeon, Skipjack
Herring, Kuhli, Mozambique Tilapia, and Pacu. These freshwater fish do
not fit into any of our other categories so we have grouped them
together in these two pages.
Mosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki) The mosquito fish is a diminutive silver-colored, live-bearing minnow that is common throughout Florida. A greenish tinge is sometimes noted especially when looking down on the back of the fish. It has a small up-turned mouth and the area over and behind the head is somewhat flattened. Normally found in the shallows among vegetation, the mosquito fish is often oriented upward searching for larvae and creating small ripples at the surface. The mosquito fish primarily feeds on mosquito larvae at the surface of a lake or pond. Maximum size for the mosquito fish is about three inches for females and smaller for males.
Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) Sturgeon are primitive fishes, with a heterocercal tail (the upper lobe is much longer than the lower lobe) like many sharks. The body is covered with 5 rows of large bony plates. These fish have a tube-like mouth located on the underside of the head. The mouth protrudes several inches when the fish is feeding. Shortnose sturgeon range in color from grayish-olive to brownish above, shading to white on the belly. Shortnose sturgeon have wider mouths and the snout is more U-shaped in the shortnose than in the Atlantic. Shortnose sturgeon are restricted to the east coast of North America, from the St. John River in Canada, to the Indian River in Florida. Bottom feeders, the shortnose sturgeon uses their barbels to sense worms and mollusks, and it's protrudable mouth to suck them up. The largest recorded shortnose sturgeon, a female weighing over 90 pounds, was captured in the St. John River in Canada
Skipjack Herring (Alosa chrysochloris) A typical herring or shad, the skipjack herring is silvery colored with a small dorsal fin, deeply forked caudal fin and small mouth. The lower jaw on a skipjack extends in front of the upper jaw and the fish is very compressed (flattened side to side). There is no dark marking on the shoulder. Primarily known from the Mississippi River drainages and other rivers entering the northern Gulf of Mexico, the skipjack herring can be found in freshwater areas over sand or gravel. Their name derives from the fact that schools of these fish will jump out of the water skipping across the surface, especially at dawn and dusk, in pursuit of small minnows and insect larvae. Skipjack herrings can grow to about 20 inches and weigh up to 3.75 pounds. Skipjack herring are a migratory species that spawns in groups broadcasting their eggs and milt.
Kuhli (Pangio kuhlii) The kuhli loach is an eel-shaped fish, elongated with slightly compressed sides, and very small fins. The dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body, and the anal fin well behind this. The eyes are covered with a transparent skin. The body has 10 to 15 dark brown to black vertical bars, and the gaps between them are salmon pink to yellow with a light underside. When the fish is not actively breeding, there is no known way to distinguish between males and females. When breeding, the females often become monstrously fat and their greenish ovaries can be seen through the skin before spawning. Spawning is not easy, but when it occurs a few hundred greenish eggs are laid among the roots of floating plants. The maximum size of the kuhli loam is 4 inches long. The natural habitat of the kuhli loach is the sandy beds of slow-moving rivers and clean mountain streams. They are a social fish and are typically found in small clusters. Kuhli Loaches are scavengers, so they will eat anything that hits the bottom. Kuhli loaches usually feed in the night time
Mozambique Tilapia (Amia calva) Mozambique tilapia are typically gray to black with an enlarged jaw and slightly concave snout. Tilapia are shaped much like sunfish or crappie but can be easily identified by an interrupted lateral line characteristic of the Cichlid family of fishes. They are laterally compressed and deep-bodied with long dorsal fins. The forward portion of the dorsal fin is heavily spined. Spines are also found in the pelvis and anal fins. There are usually wide vertical bars down the sides of fry, fingerlings, and sometimes adults. Mozambique tilapia are commonly found in warm weedy ponds, canals, and river backwaters. The Mozambique are omnivores that consume plankton, and aquatic invertebrates, and decomposing organic matter. They are considered filter feeders because they can literally filter plankton out of the water. The Mozambique are native to Africa and the Levant, but have been widely introduced into tropical fresh and brackish waters around the world. In some cases, the introductions were deliberate, for example to control invasive aquatic plants, as in Florida and Texas.
Pacu (Colosomma spp.) Pacu look similar to piranha but have molar-like teeth and grow to much larger sizes. Due to their popularity in the aquarium industry, individual pacu have been collected a number of times from Florida waters. All Pacus grow very fast to very large sizes. They can eat almost any food, and are now being raised in huge fish farms throughout the world as a food fish. Pacus are relatives of the Piranha, and Pacus look like Piranhas. But Pacus are mainly vegetarians that will adapt to eat almost anything. In the wild they eat very hard nut-like vegetation that they crush in their powerful mouths.
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