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NFC: First darter(?)
After my first collection, it is official........I was bitten by the
collecting bug. On February 18, curiosity got he best of me and another
collecting trip was in order. The weather was a little windy, and cool (mid
60's) but that did not slow me down. So with bucket and nets in hand, away I
Upon arrival to the shore, waves have now replaced the once calm,
mirror-like surface of the lake. Foam from the churning action of the waves
was noted in a few area's. A lot of debris was now littering the shore line.
The wind has also caused a lot of water hyacyinth to collect along the banks,
and to me that was prime opportunity for dip netting.
The first dip into the water was a bit "nippy" to say the least, but after
a few minuets of considering which hyacinth to inspect first, the coolness
was forgotten about, and the reason for being here came to mind. On the first
collecting trip, all I had acquired was the female Least killifish and I was
searching for the male this time.
The first few dip's of my net yielded the same that was caught the first
time, Gambusia, grass shrimp, crayfish, dragonfly nymph and the female Least
killifish. A few big female Least killifish were caught, so I placed them in
the bucket. To help with the shock of being transported, I placed a small
rooted hyacinth in the bucket, but not before taking a large specimen and
shaking it's root system in the bucket for the addition of some copepods and
crustaceans. This was for culturing later on and to see what was abundant.
After a while of collecting the same, I spotted a clump of hyacinth's in
with the alligator grass that was abundant along the shore, and went over to
inspect the area. The water depth was shallow. about 3-4 inches, so with the
dip net skimming the bottom I netted the hyacinth clump. Moving to deeper
water, I shook the plants root system and inspected the catch. A 2 inch
blotched streamlined fish was seen, and with my heart skipping a beat, I
placed the specimen in the bucket, not wanting to wait to observe the fish
for identification. An emerald green flash was noted on the gill cover, and
continuing to near the abdomen.
After returning home I placed the fish in my photo tank, inwhich has an
external filter that causes a mild current. After a while I returned to the
aquarium to observe my new catch, and hopefully to identify it. With my
Peterson's Field guide in hand, I began to flip through the pages excitingly
trying to get an idea of what I had caught. With reddish-orange on the first
and second dorsal, clear webbing of the dorsal fins and 2 dark spots on the
caudial, the only conclusion that I could see was Harlequin darter. This was
my first darter and other readings mentioned that darters are usually found
in creeks, streams or rivers with a current. This puzzled me, for this was a
lake. Have I found a possible specimen that was introduced or "lake locked"?
Are there more specimens?
If you are familiar with darters, please give me some ideas. Hopefully,
THANKS in advance.
Prplshark at aol_com