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Re: Fundulus catenatus

our first submission for the NFC amature writers contest........

On Sun, 27 Sep 1998 16:45:33 -0700 "The Halls" <dahall at lightspeed_net>
>The Northern Studfish 
>David L. Hall
>813 Williams Ave.
>Madera, CA  93637
>dahall at lightspeed_net
>North America has many colorful topminnows (aka killifish).  The 
>topminnow (Fundulus catenatus), the Bluefin killie (Lucania goodei), 
>the Banded topminnow or Pink Lemonade killie (Fundulus cingulatus or
>rubrifrons) are among the prettiest native topminnows.  These 
>fish are much sought after by both killie nuts and native fish 
> Fewer people are aware of the Midwestern topminnow called the 
>studfish (Fundulus catenatus).
>At first glance the Northern studfish is rather plain especially when
>compared to its southeastern cousins, in fact, the first time I 
>one I threw it back.  I was decidedly unimpressed with the yellowish 
>torpedo-shaped fish and never gave it another thought until I picked 
>up the
>booklet entitled "An Introduction to Missouri Fishes".  The booklet
>contained a picture of a male Northern studfish in breeding color and 
>was striking.  The photo showed a silvery blue fish with 
>spots on the fins and a black band on the orange tail fin.
>My next collecting trip was spent in pursuit of the Northern studfish 
>and I
>do mean pursuit.  I saw several schools of the topminnow, but they 
>just out of reach.  Although the Northern studfish, like most 
>prefers to stay near the surface they can quickly dive to the bottom 
>leap out of the water to avoid capture.  After several failed attempts 
>capture this elusive fish with a dipnet and one man seine I tried a 
>strategy.  Noting several studfish near a shallow inlet I herded them 
>the dead end and scooped them up with my seine.  I picked out several 
>and headed for home.
>At home I put my newly acquired prizes in a 26 gallon aquarium with 
>gravel and no heater.  The water had a neutral ph (7.0) and the tank 
>had no
>plants.  Since I knew many male killies are quite rough when spawning 
>that most killies prefer hiding places I placed some spawning mops in 
>tank for cover.  (I had read that the Northern studfish spawns over
>I had planned to set up a separate aquarium for spawning and after
>conditioning the fish I would move certain ones to the spawning tank. 
>Later I had an occasion to remove the spawning mops to replace them 
>plants and I discovered eggs on the mops.  This was contrary to my
>expectation and  I was never able to get them to spawn again despite 
>the efforts to set up prime conditions.  Although the eggs hatched I 
>unfortunate enough to lose the resulting fry before I could raise them 
>adult stage.          
>The Northern studfish is rather large topminnow attaining the length 
>of 5
>to 6 inches.  The adults did quite well in the 26 gallon aquarium and
>proved rather hardy. I believe that these fish would make a fine 
>to a native community tank and as they spend most of their time at 
>surface of the tank would do well with minnows and darters.

Robert Rice
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