Something Fishy

We did finally make it to the creek today, after taking all those wildflower photos, and I had hoped it was warm enough to get a Green or Long-eared Sunfish to come out and grab a plastic grub. They didn’t cooperate – I didn’t even see either species – so I sent Dayna into the water with a dip net while I started flipping rocks.

Crayfish are abundant in Rogers Creek and it only took a few rocks to find one.

This is a Golden Crayfish (Orconectes luteus,) one of seven species of crayfish found in the Ozark portion of the Current River basin and one of two that I would consider common and widespread – the other being the Spot-handed Crayfish (O. punctimanus.)

By the time I was finished photographing the crayfish, Dayna had managed to chase a Bleeding Shiner (Luxilus zonatus) into shallow water and trap him long enough to get him in the net.

If this is a male, he’ll be much more colorful in a few weeks when the breeding season gets under way.

I took my turn with the net, managed to catch a small minnow (which I didn’t get a chance to identify as you’ll soon see) and dropped him in the container we were using to pour water into the photo tank. I had spotted a sculpin about the time I caught the minnow, so I went right back after him and quickly netted him. I dropped him in the container with the minnow, which he promptly ate! And he had to do it as I was finishing the sentence “Don’t worry, I don’t think he’ll eat him.” Making me look bad, fish. šŸ™

Anyway, here’s the sculpin in the tank:

A face only a mother could love, don’t you think? Though he does have cool eyes. This is a Banded Sculpin (Cottus carolinae,) but we have another species , the Ozark Sculpin (C. hypselurus) and I should be able to get a photo of one before the end of the summer.

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