Floridian Nature

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Florida Fish: Prohibited Aquatic Fish (2)
Prohibited species may be imported and possessed for research, following approval of the research plan, including security measures to prevent escape; and by public aquaria, zoological parks, or public exhibitors with current accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or the American Association of Museums. Prohibited species may not be kept as personal pets, with the exception of red-eared sliders  that were in possession prior to July 1, 2007. No exceptions are made for piranha or pirambeba; these species are banned and may not be possessed by anyone at anytime.

lamprey, a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Lampreys  (Petromyzon marinus) These are among the earliest fish (280 million years in archaeological records) and are parasitic using a sucking-disk shaped mouth with rasping teeth that wear a hole in the flesh of its victim. Found in temperate waters throughout the world, the lampreys have eel-like bodies, that  are cartilaginous, with no jaws, scales or paired fins. Lampreys use the sucker shaped mouth to attach to the prey and then use rasping teeth to bore through the skin and an anticoagulant to allow them to feed on body fluids. The lampreys created major environmental problems when canal construction allowed them to enter the great lakes. The entire family Petromyzonidae is prohibited.

Piranha, a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Piranha (Serrasalmus) Piranhas have deep laterally compressed bodies that are generally silvery or golden in color, with a short adipose fin. Piranha jaws have a single row of sharp tricuspid sheering teeth and no molars. Other characids look somewhat similar but can be distinguished primarily by the dentition. In telling Piranhas from Metynnis and other silver dollars, the angle of the jaw is a pretty good characteristic for sorting them, a forward jutting lower jaw that forms a V at the angle is a piranha, even upper and lower jaw profile that forms a U at the angle of the jaw is not a piranha. Native to rivers in South America,  piranha are able to bite pieces out of larger prey, as opposed to having to swallow their prey whole, as do most North American freshwater fishes. Piranha often feed in schools and exhibit feeding-frenzy behavior. Most piranha are less than 2 pounds but they can grow up to 16 inches and 6 pounds. The entire subfamily Serrasalminae is prohibited in Florida due to its predatory nature, human safety concerns and their proven ability to spawn and survive in south Florida.

Trahira, a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Trahiras (Erythrinis) The Trahira has a strong jaw with irregularly spaced sharp teeth, no adipose fin, rounded caudal fin, big scales, large eyes, and the anal fin is behind the dorsal with pelvic fins below the dorsal. Primarily  found in South American rivers, trahiras also inhabit lakes and back waters. Salinity tolerance allows trahiras to favor the mouths of rivers. A large fish-eating predator that is taken for sport and food, Trahiras will also consume crustaceans. Growing to a size of about 20 inches and 3-4 pounds, trahiras are a voracious predator. All members of the family Erythrinidae are prohibited.  Trahiras were on the verge of becoming established in the Manatee River in 1974, but the cold weather of 1977 eliminated the illegal introduction, although they  could become established further south.

airsac catfish, a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Airsac Catfish (Heteropneustes fossilis) The peculiar looking airsac catfish, known from only a few specimens, is an air-breathing, freshwater fish. A long air sac that extends back from the gill chamber acts like a lung and enables the catfish to breathe air. It has a long body that narrows to a pointed head, and four pairs of barbels (fleshy projections) protrude from around the mouth. The airsac catfish has a short fin on its back, a long fin on the rear underside of the body, and a rounded tail fin. Despite their tiny size, airsac catfish are dreaded by local fisherman due to the sharp poisonous spine in each pectoral fin that can inflict a painful sting on any person wading in its territory. Growing up to a foot in length, the airsac catfish is from Pakistan and Thailand, where it is found in rivers and ponds, in mostly turbid waters. Although some airsac catfish are  raised in aquaculture for food and medicinal value, this fish's sting can be dangerous to people and all members of the family Heteropneustidae are prohibited. 

Green sunfish,  a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) A slender bodied bream with a maximum depth that is less than the distance from the snout to the origin of the dorsal (most sunfish are deeper bodied), the green sunfishes mouth is  relatively large, extending to the middle of the eye. It's color is blue-green on it's back with mottled yellow green streaks. Green sunfish are found in North American lakes and ponds, but are not naturally found in Florida. Green sunfish grow to about 12 inches in length and can weigh two pounds. Known to rapidly colonize a water body, green sunfish will then stunt and may also hybridize with other bream affecting the gene pool, making them a risk for Florida waters.

Australian crayfish, a Florida prohibited aquatic fish.Australian Crayfish  (Cherax) Australian crayfish, except for tank culture of the red claw crayfish is prohibited due to potential conflict with numerous threatened native crayfish and impacts on dikes and the food chain. Australian Red Claw Crawfish differ from Louisiana crawfish in many ways. They get their name from the red patch found on the males' claws. They do not burrow in the ground like the crawfish that we're most familiar with, nor do they attack each other, except right after a molt.  Redclaws grow at least twice as fast as other crawfish and become much larger.
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