Allegany Nature Pilgrimage – Fish!

May 30, 2008 – Introduction to the Fish of Allegany State Park

Tim Shows Northern HogsuckerTim Strakosh is a biology professor at SUNY Fredonia.  He is also husband to our part-time naturalist, so we at Audubon have had the pleasure of getting to know Tim a bit over the last couple of years.  Tim led a fish program at the Pilgrimage this year which I attended after the Plant Lore program.

As a fish biologist, Tim uses an electro-shock unit to stun fish temporarily.  Stunned fish are collected and identified, and certain data about each individual are recorded.  Tim and company (Suzi and Daniel) demonstrated how this is done.

Who You Gonna Call?

Aren’t they just stylin’ with their waders, gloves, hats and polarized shades?  I think they look like an aquatic Ghostbusters team.  Who you gonna call?

They caught several varieties of little fishes, whose names I cannot remember.  I attempted some photos through the plastic containers:

Little Fish 1

Little Fish 2

I was stunned, not by the electro shock machine, but by the realization that there a lot more kinds of fish than I ever realized.

The fish that surprised me the most was large.  I had never seen anything like it and was really almost shocked to think that it lives in the streams where I hike and splash and even swim!  Why have I never seen one before?

Northern Hog Sucker

Look at that mouth, will you!??!  And with a name like Northern Hog Sucker, I think I’ll be able to remember it!  It lives in fast-moving water and likes to eat aquatic invertebrates.  Isn’t it cool?

More on the Pilgrimage tomorrow!

11 thoughts on “Allegany Nature Pilgrimage – Fish!

  1. Jen my husband really enjoyed meeting Tim and took his fish program in the afternoon. He was really impressed. Thanks for introducing us.

  2. It looks like that would have been a great walk to go on. We flyfish so we are pretty interested in the aquatic insects and try to match the hatch when fishing. I’d like to take that walk next year. That is one ugly fish!

  3. Cool. That first fish is the Black-nosed Dace that has that distinctive line along its side. Very common in streams and brooks and even has a streamer fly named after it,one of the few fish that is actually imitated by fly fishermen/women . The second one is probably a darter of some sort ,a male fish in spawning colors. The last fish, and largest is indeed the Hog Sucker, that is in a different genus from the Common White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni) ,that you certainly also found.

    Look forward to seeing what else you find in Part II.

  4. Yeah, if you fish those streams you’ll get to know most of the minnows, chubs and ‘suckers’. We used to catch them all the time when fishing for trout with bread, corn and worms. They can get QUITE big.

  5. Pingback: Allegany Nature Pilgrimage - Down Time « A Passion for Nature

  6. Scienceguy288; The hog sucker is a boney fish and as such has true jaws and well-developed lips that form an effective sucking mouth(from which the fish gets its name) that allows them to vacuum up mud and gravel from which they extract food( benthic arganisms.). There are many kinds of suckers (Catostomidae) but many other fish,including carp, have a weakly developed sucker-like mouth, that is also adapted to feeding on the bottom. And of course,unlike lampreys, that are parasitic, suckers ,like goldfish and all other boney fishes, are free living.

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