Lesser Siren

Lesser Siren, Siren intermedia


Lesser Siren | Siren intermedia

This print was created by applying india ink on the siren and pressing it onto paper. This is a rarely seen critter in streams of the southeastern US and northern Mexico. It is a tricky one to print as the exterior ‘gills’, seen in a red paint behind it’s long head, are very small. Likewise, it has two small appendages that are difficult to capture in the printed image.

Lesser Siren info via Wikipedia:

Lesser siren
Siren intermedia 2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Subclass: Lissamphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Sirenidae
Genus: Siren
Species: S. intermedia
Binomial name
Siren intermedia
Barnes, 1826,

The lesser siren (Siren intermedia) is a species of aquatic salamander native to the eastern United States and northern Mexico. They are referred to by numerous common names, including two-legged eel, dwarf siren, and mud eel. The specific epithet intermedia denotes their intermediate size, between the greater siren, Siren lacertina, and the dwarf sirens, Pseudobranchus spp.


The lesser siren is nocturnal, spending its days hidden in the debris and mud at the bottom of slow-moving bodies of water. They feed primarily on aquatic invertebrates, including various kinds of worms, snails, and crustaceans. They will also eat the tadpoles and eggs of other amphibians.

Reproduction occurs in the spring, with eggs being laid in shallow depressions at the bottom of calm areas of water, usually surrounded by vegetation. Though little is known about their courtship, it is believed to be quite violent, as many specimens collected have scarring from healed bite marks from other sirens. About 12-300 eggs are laid at a time, and several clutches may be laid over the course of the year. Hatchlings are only about 0.4 in (1.1 cm) in length, but grow quickly. Maturity is reached in three to four years.

The lesser siren is vocal, unlike most salamanders, and will emit a series of clicks when it approaches others of its species, or a short screeching sound if handled.

If the habitat dries up during the summer, lesser sirens are capable of excreting a substance from their skin which protects them from dehydrating, and enables them to stay buried in dry mud for months until the water returns. Their small legs enable them to move on dry land for short periods of time.

Geographic distribution

The lesser siren is found in the United States, primarily from Virginia to Florida, and west to Texas (ranging into northeastern Mexico as far as Veracruz), and north to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.


Sources disagree on the number of subspecies within S. intermedia; most agree there are at least two, an eastern and a western variety. Many sources also include a third subspecies, the Rio Grande lesser siren, S. i. texana, but researchers disagree whether the Rio Grande variety belongs as a lesser siren, within S. intermedia, or as a greater siren, within S. lacertina, and some others even consider it to be its own species, as S. texana.

  • Eastern lesser siren, S. i. intermedia (Goin, 1942)
  • Western lesser siren, S. i. nettingi (Goin, 1942)
  • Rio Grande lesser siren, S. i. texana (Goin, 1957)

Conservation status

The lesser siren is quite common through most of its range, but rarely seen due to its secretive nature. Like almost all species of amphibian, their numbers are believed to be declining due to general reductions in water quality caused by agricultural pesticide and fertilizer runoff. They are frequently collected and used as bait for fishing. The species is believed to be extirpated from Michigan, and the S. i. texana subspecies is listed as a threatened species in Texas. They are listed as Least concern on the IUCN Red List.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_siren

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove | Zenaida asiatica

White-winged dove
Zenaida asiatica -Tuscon -Arizona -USA -8a.jpg
Perching on a saguaro cactus in Tucson, Arizona
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Zenaida
Species: Z. asiatica
Binomial name
Zenaida asiatica
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a dove whose native range extends from the south-western United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. In recent years with increasing urbanization and backyard feeding, it has expanded throughout Texas, into Oklahoma, Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. It has also been introduced to Florida.

The white-winged dove is expanding outside its historic range into Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and northern New Mexico. The dove's range has even expanded drastically northward into Canada. While the dove was introduced to Alberta, it still remains a common spring and summer visitor in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.


In Texas
In Tucson, Arizona

White-winged doves are large, plump doves at 29 cm (11 in). They are brownish-gray above and gray below, with a bold white wing patch that appears as a brilliant white crescent in flight and is also visible at rest. Adults have a patch of blue, featherless skin around each eye and a long, dark mark on the lower face. Their eyes are bright crimson. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are more brown than adults. They have a blue eye ring and their legs and feet are brighter pink/red. Young also have brown eyes. Males have a slight iridescent sheen on their heads.

Pair eating fruits in a nispero tree, Aserrí, San José, Costa Rica


The cooing calls is hoo, hoo, hoo-hoo hoo hoo . A drawn-out "hoo-a" sound is used to tell others about the presence of a predator. To impress females, males circle them with tail spread and wings raised. Males and females work together in raising the young. While calling, the tail flares. Families and nestmates often stay together for life, perching and foraging together.

Cooing, Monterrey Mexico


Some populations of white-winged doves are migratory, wintering in Mexico and Central America. They are year-round inhabitants in Texas. San Antonio, Texas, had a year-round population of over a million doves in 2001.[2] The white-winged dove inhabits scrub, woodlands, desert, urban, and cultivated areas. It builds a flimsy stick nest in a tree of any kind and lays two cream-colored to white, unmarked eggs. One chick often hatches earlier and stronger, and so will demand the most food from the parents. A dove may nest as soon as 2–3 months after leaving the nest, making use of summer heat. The dove will nest as long as there is food and enough warmth to keep fledglings warm. In Texas, they nest well into late August.

White-winged doves feed on a variety of seeds, grains, and fruits. Western white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica mearnsii) migrate into the Sonoran Desert to breed during the hottest time of the year because they feed on pollen and nectar, and later on the fruits and seeds of the saguaro cactus. They also visit feeders, eating the food dropped on the ground. Cracked corn is a favorite of doves. This gregarious species can be an agricultural pest, descending on grain crops in large flocks. It is also a popular gamebird in areas of high population.

Probable male

Cultural References

The rock singer Stevie Nicks, a native of Arizona, where the bird is most common in the US, mentions the white-winged dove and its call prominently in her 1981 hit "Edge of Seventeen".


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Zenaida asiatica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "White-winged Dove", Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Texas A&M University, retrieved March 7, 2015 
  • Kelling, Steve. "Cornell Lab of Ornithology". "What we’re learning: Dynamic Dove Expansions: Citizen Science illustrates the spectacular range expansions taking place throughout North America". Audubon Conservation. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  • "National Geographic" Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol 4, Josep del Hoyo editor, ISBN 84-87334-22-9
  • "National Audubon Society" The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley, ISBN 0-679-45122-6
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenaida_asiatica

Common Snapping Turtle Skull

Common Snapping Turtle | Chelydra serpentina

Common snapping turtle
Common Snapping Turtle.jpg
Female searching for nest site
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Chelydridae
Genus: Chelydra
Species: C. serpentina
Binomial name
Chelydra serpentina
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Common snapping turtle range map.jpg
Native range map of C. serpentina

The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is a large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. Its natural range extends from southeastern Canada, southwest to the edge of the Rocky Mountains, as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida. This species and the larger alligator snapping turtles are the only Macrochelys species in this family found in North America (though the common snapping turtle, as its name implies, is much more widespread).[2]

The common snapping turtle is noted for its combative disposition when out of the water with its powerful beak-like jaws, and highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name serpentina, meaning "snake-like"). In water, they are likely to flee and hide themselves underwater in sediment. Snapping turtles have a life-history strategy characterized by high and variable mortality of embryos and hatchlings, delayed sexual maturity, extended adult longevity, and iteroparity (repeated reproductive events) with low reproductive success per reproductive event. Females, and presumably also males, in more northern populations mature later (at 15–20 years) and at a larger size than in more southern populations (about 12 years). Lifespan in the wild is poorly known, but long-term mark-recapture data from Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada, suggest a maximum age over 100 years.[3]

Anatomy and morphology

Illustration from Holbrook's North American Herpetology, 1842

C. serpentina has a rugged, muscular build with a ridged carapace (upper shell), although ridges tend to be more pronounced in younger individuals. The carapace length in adulthood may be nearly 50 cm (20 in), though 25–47 cm (9.8–18.5 in), is more common.[4]C. serpentina usually weighs 4.5–16 kg (9.9–35.3 lb). Per one study, breeding common snapping turtles were found to average 28.5 cm (11.2 in) in carapace length, 22.5 cm (8.9 in) in plastron length and weigh about 6 kg (13 lb).[5] Males are larger than females, with almost all animals weighing in excess of 10 kg (22 lb) being male and quite old, as the species continues to grow throughout life.[6] Any specimen above the aforementioned weights is exceptional, but the heaviest wild specimen caught reportedly weighed 34 kg (75 lb). Snapping turtles kept in captivity can be quite overweight due to overfeeding and have weighed as much as 39 kg (86 lb). In the northern part of its range, the common snapping turtle is often the heaviest native freshwater turtle.[7]

Ecology and life history

Common habitats are shallow ponds or streams. Some may inhabit brackish environments, such as estuaries. Common snapping turtles sometimes bask—though rarely observed—by floating on the surface with only their carapaces exposed, though in the northern parts of their range, they also readily bask on fallen logs in early spring. In shallow waters, common snapping turtles may lie beneath a muddy bottom with only their heads exposed, stretching their long necks to the surface for an occasional breath (their nostrils are positioned on the very tip of the snout, effectively functioning as snorkels). Snapping turtles consume both plant and animal matter, and are important aquatic scavengers, but they are also active hunters that prey on anything they can swallow, including many invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles (including snakes and smaller turtles), unwary birds, and small mammals. In some areas, adult snapping turtles can be incidentally detrimental to breeding waterfowl, as they will occasionally take ducklings and goslings but their effect on such prey is frequently exaggerated.[8]

A snapping turtle's eggs

Common snapping turtles have few predators when older, but eggs are subject to predation by crows, mink, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. As hatchlings and juveniles, most of the same predators will attack them as well as herons (mostly great blue herons), bitterns, hawks, owls, fishers, bullfrogs, large fish, and snakes.[7] There are records during winter in Canada of hibernating adult common snapping turtles being ambushed and predated by northern river otters.[6] Other natural predators which have reportedly preyed on adults include coyotes, black bears, alligators and their larger cousins, alligator snapping turtles.[9] Large, old male snapping turtles have very few natural threats due to their formidable size and defenses, and tend to have a very low annual mortality rate.[6]

These turtles travel extensively over land to reach new habitats or to lay eggs. Pollution, habitat destruction, food scarcity, overcrowding, and other factors drive snappers to move; it is quite common to find them traveling far from the nearest water source. This species mates from April through November, with their peak laying season in June and July. The female can hold sperm for several seasons, using it as necessary. Females travel over land to find sandy soil in which to lay their eggs, often some distance from the water. After digging a hole, the female typically deposits 25 to 80 eggs each year, guiding them into the nest with her hind feet and covering them with sand for incubation and protection. Incubation time is temperature-dependent, ranging from 9 to 18 weeks. In cooler climates, hatchlings overwinter in the nest. The common snapping turtle is remarkably cold-tolerant; radiotelemetry studies have shown some individuals do not hibernate, but remain active under the ice during the winter.[10] Hibernating snapping turtles do not breathe for, in the northern part of their range, more than six months since ice covers their hibernating site. These turtles can get oxygen by pushing their head out of the mud and allowing gas exchange to take place through the membranes of their mouth and throat. This is known as extrapulmonary respiration. If they cannot get enough oxygen through this method they start to utilize anaerobic pathways, burning sugars and fats without the use of oxygen. The metabolic by-products from this process are acidic and create very undesirable side effects by spring, which are known as oxygen debt.[11] Although designated as "least concern" on the IUCN redlist, the species has been designated in the Canadian part of its range as "Special Concern" due to its life history being sensitive to disruption by anthropogenic activity.[12]

Systematics and taxonomy

Currently, no subspecies of the common snapping turtle are recognized.[13] The former subspecies osceola is currently considered a synonym of serpentina, while the other former subspecies Chelydra rossignonii[14] and Chelydra acutirostris are both recognized as full species.[13][15]


In their environment, they are at the top of the food chain, causing them to feel less fear or aggression in some cases. When they encounter a species unfamiliar to them such as humans, in rare instances, they will become curious and survey the situation and even more rarely may bump their nose on a leg of the person standing in the water. Although snapping turtles have fierce dispositions,[16] when they are encountered in the water or a swimmer approaches, they will slip quietly away from any disturbance or may seek shelter under mud or grass nearby.[17] Common snapping turtles are very aggressive if caught, and have a strong enough bite to easily amputate human fingers.[18]


The common snapping turtle is not an ideal pet. Its neck is very flexible, and a wild turtle can bite its handler even if picked up by the sides of its shell. The claws are about as sharp as those of dogs, but cannot be trimmed as can dog claws. Despite this, a snapping turtle cannot use its claws for either attacking (its legs have no speed or strength in "swiping" motions) or eating (no opposable thumbs), but only as aids for digging and gripping. Veterinary care is best left to a reptile specialist. A wild common snapping turtle will make a hissing sound when it is threatened or encountered; however, when in the water and unprovoked, they are fairly docile towards humans.

It is a common misconception that common snapping turtles may be safely picked up by the tail with no harm to the animal; in fact, this has a high chance of injuring the turtle, especially the tail itself and the vertebral column.[19] Lifting the turtle with the hands is difficult and dangerous. Snappers can stretch their necks back across their own carapace and to their hind feet on either side to bite. When they feel stressed, they release a musky odor from behind their legs.

It may be tempting to rescue a snapping turtle found on a road by getting it to bite a stick and then dragging it out of immediate danger. This action can, however, severely scrape the legs and underside of the turtle and lead to deadly infections in the wounds. The safest way to pick up a common snapping turtle is by grasping the carapace above the back legs. There is a large gap above the back legs that allows for easy grasping of the carapace and keeps hands safe from both the beak and claws of the turtle. It can also be picked up with a shovel, from the back, making sure the shovel is square across the bottom of the shell. The easiest way, though, is with a blanket or tarp, picking up the corners with the turtle in the middle.

Snapping turtles are raised on some turtle farms in China.[20]

Invasive species

In recent years in Italy, large mature adult C. serpentina turtles have been taken from bodies of water throughout the country. They were most probably introduced by the unwise release of pets. In March 2011, an individual weighing 20 kg (44 lb) was captured in a canal near Rome;[21] another individual was captured near Rome in September 2012.[22] In Japan, the species was introduced as an exotic pet in the 1960s; it has been recorded as the source of serious bite injuries. In 2004 and 2005, some 1000 individuals were found in Chiba Prefecture, making up the majority of individuals believed to have been introduced.[23]

In politics

Political cartoon depicting merchants attempting to dodge the "Ograbme"

The common snapping turtle was the central feature of a famous American political cartoon. Published in 1808 in protest at the Jeffersonian Embargo Act of 1807, the cartoon depicted a snapping turtle, jaws locked fiercely to an American trader who was attempting to carry a barrel of goods onto a British ship. The trader was seen whimsically uttering the words "Oh! this cursed Ograbme" ("embargo" spelled backwards). This piece is widely considered a pioneering work within the genre of the modern political cartoon.[citation needed]

In 2006, the snapping turtle was declared the state reptile of New York by a sweeping vote of the New York Legislature after being popularly chosen by the state's public elementary school children.[24]

As food

The common snapping turtle is a traditional ingredient in turtle soup; consumption in large quantities however can become a health concern due to potential concentration of toxic environmental pollutants in the turtle's flesh.[25]


The species is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, but has declined sufficiently due to pressure from collection for the pet trade and habitat degradation that Canada and several U.S. states have enacted or are proposing stricter conservation measures.[1] In Canada, it is listed as 'Special Concern' in the Species at Risk Act in 2011 and is a target species for projects that include surveys, identification of major habitats, investigation and mitigation of threats, and education of the public including landowners. Involved bodies include governmental departments, universities, museums, and citizen science projects.[26]


  1. ^ a b van Dijk, P.P. (2012). "Chelydra serpentina ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T163424A97408395. Retrieved 4 December 2017. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Ernst, C.H. (2008). "Systematics, Taxonomy, and Geographic Distribution of the Snapping Turtles, Family Chelydridae". In A.C. Styermark; M.S. Finkler; R.J. Brooks. Biology of the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 5–13. 
  3. ^ "COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Burnie, D., eds. (2001). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. London and New York: Dorling Kindersley (DK) Publishing. 624 pp. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5. 
  5. ^ Iverson, J.B.; Higgins, H.; Sirulnik, A.; Griffiths, C. (1997). "Local and geographic variation in the reproductive biology of the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)". Herpetologica 53 (1): 96-117.
  6. ^ a b c Brooks, R.J.; Brown, G.P.; Galbraith, D.A. (1991). "Effects of a sudden increase in natural mortality of adults on a population of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)". Canadian Journal of Zoology 69 (5): 1314-1320.
  7. ^ a b Virginia Herpetological Society: Eastern Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina serpentina
  8. ^ Hammer, D.A. (1972). Ecological relations of waterfowl and snapping turtle populations. Ph.D. dissertation, Utah State University, Salt Lake City, UT. 72 pg.
  9. ^ Ernst, C.H., & Lovich, J. E. (2009). Turtles of the United States and Canada. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  10. ^ US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory: Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
  11. ^ Tortoise Trust Web
  12. ^ COSEWIC. "Species Profile - Snapping Turtle". Species At Risk Public Registry. Government of Canada. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Iverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley (2010-12-14). "Turtles of the world, 2010 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status" (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. 5: 000.xx. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v3.2010. ISBN 0965354091. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-15. 
  14. ^ van Dijk, P.P.; Lee, J.; Calderón Mandujano, R.; Flores-Villela, O.; Lopez-Luna, M.A.; Vogt, R.C. (2007). "Chelydra rossignoni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  15. ^ Chelydra, Reptile Database
  16. ^ Snapping Turtle, Encyclopedia.com
  17. ^ Common Snapping Turtle, Nature.ca
  18. ^ "Common Snapping Turtle". Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  19. ^ Indiviglio, Frank (2008-06-24). "Handling Snapping Turtles, Chelydra serpentina, and Other Large Turtles". That Reptile Blog. That Pet Place. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  20. ^ Fang Anning (方安宁), "“小庭院”养殖龟鳖大有赚头" (Small-scale turtle farming may be very profitable). Zuojiang Daily (左江日报) (with photo)
  21. ^ "Una "azzanatrice" catturata fuori Roma". (March 17, 2011). Corriere della Sera. Milan.
  22. ^ http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/photostory/curiosita/2012/09/17/Tartaruga-azzannatrice-presa-Tevere_7489581.html
  23. ^ Desaki, Yotaro (5 August 2014). "Invasive snapping turtles on the rise in Chiba, other areas". thejapantimes news. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  24. ^ Medina, Jennifer (2006-06-23). "A Few Things Lawmakers Can Agree On". N.Y./Region. New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  25. ^ "Common Snapping Turtle: Interesting Facts". Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, State of Connecticut. DEEP (ct.gov). 8 November 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  26. ^ Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016). Management Plan for the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) in Canada [Proposed] (PDF). Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Ottawa: Ottawa, Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

External links

Further reading

  • Behler JL, King FW (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Chelydra serpentina, pp. 435–436 + Plates 322-324).
  • Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. xviii + 429 pp. + Plates 1-48. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Chelydra serpentina, pp. 37–38 + Plates 5, 11 + Map3).
  • Goin CJ, Goin OB, Zug GR (1978). Introduction to Herpetology, Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. (Chelydra serpentina, pp. 122, 142, 258).
  • Linnaeus C (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. Stockholm: L. Salvius. 824 pp. (Testudo serpentina, new species, p. 199). (in Latin).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Chelydra serpentina, pp. 38–39).
  • Zim HS, Smith HM (1956). Reptiles and Amphibians: A Guide to Familiar American Species: A Golden Nature Guide. New York: Simon and Schuster. 160 pp. (Chelydra serpentina, pp. 19, 24, 155).
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_snapping_turtle

Smallmouth Buffalo

Smallmouth Buffalo

Smallmouth Buffalo| Ictiobus bubalus

Smallmouth Buffalo info on Wikipedia:

Smallmouth buffalo
Smallmouth buffalo.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae
Genus: Ictiobus
Species: I. bubalus
Binomial name
Ictiobus bubalus
(Rafinesque, 1818)
Smallmouth Buffalo Distribution.png
The distribution of I. bubalus in the United States
  • Catostomus bubalus Rafinesque, 1818

The smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus, from the Greek for "bull-fish" and "buffalo") is a Cypriniformes fish species found in the major tributaries and surrounding waters of the Mississippi River in the United States as well as some other water systems where it has been introduced. It is a stocky fish like its relatives the bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus) and the black buffalo (Ictiobus niger), although the smallmouth buffalo's mouth is located ventrally like other Catostomidae species while the bigmouth buffalo's mouth is terminal and opens forward, and the smallmouth buffalo's eyes are significantly larger than those of the black buffalo. These three species are superficially similar to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), but all lack the characteristic barbels.

Physical characteristics

The coloration of smallmouth buffalo ranges from shades of gray to brown and coppery green dorsally and pale yellow to white ventrally. Fin colors match the portion of the body they attach to and are generally darker towards the tips. They are characteristically stocky, having a hump that rises up from where the operculum sits. Pectoral fins protrude ventrally like the anal fins, the caudal fin has even lobes, and the dorsal fin protrudes from the top of the hump to a blunt point then shortens and runs the remaining length of the body to the base of the tail. Average adults reach a length of around 40–60 cm (16–24 in) with some specimens reaching as much as 90 cm (35 in).


The smallmouth buffalo is a hardy fish that frequents clear, moderate to fast-moving streams but has been occasionally known in some lakes and ponds. If prefers waters with dense aquatic vegetation and a silty bottom. It has a high tolerance for hard water and can survive in waters with pH ranges of 6.5–8.5.


The smallmouth buffalo's diet is primarily that of a detritivore, using its ventral sucker mouth to pick up vegetation and other organic matter from the bottom of its habitat, often scraping algae off of rocks. It is also quite the invertivore, consuming zooplankton, insect larvae, mollusk larvae and small crustaceans.


Spawning usually takes place in spring and summer with more specific timeframes depending on the location of the population. Migration is negligible. Spawning often occurs in shallower sections of streams where the egg can adhere to vegetation and gravel to keep from flowing away. Each female can lay tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of eggs at a time depending on her size, so no parental care is applied and the eggs hatch in one or two weeks. The young hide in aquatic vegetation to avoid predators. The average lifespan of a smallmouth buffalo is nine to eighteen years with males reaching sexual maturity in four to five years and females at around six years.

Commercial uses

Although considered by many to be a rough fish, smallmouth buffalo is the most common commercially sold freshwater fish in the United States. The species is highly valued by some as a human food source and the fish meal is common in animal feed. They are relatively quick and easy to raise in commercial farm ponds. Anglers seeking to hook a smallmouth buffalo have found success with doughballs and corn on hooks.[citation needed]



  1. ^ NatureServe (2013). "Ictiobus bubalus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2013: e.T191239A18236812. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T191239A18236812.en. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "Ohio Boating Accident Data Archive". Dnr.state.oh.us. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  3. ^ "Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus)". Tpwd.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  4. ^ "Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) - FactSheet". Nas.er.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 

External links

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallmouth_buffalo

Blue Sucker

Blue Sucker | Cycleptus elongatus

Blue sucker
Blue Sucker.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae
Genus: Cycleptus
Species: C. elongatus
Binomial name
Cycleptus elongatus
Lesueur, 1817
  • Catostomus elongatus Lesueur, 1817
  • Cycleptus nigrescens Rafinesque, 1819
  • Rhytidostomus elongatus (Lesueur, 1871

The blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) is a freshwater species of fish in the sucker family. The species has an average weight of 2-3 kilograms and an average length of 76 centimeters. The record length has been recorded at 102 centimeters.[2]


Color is variable, from light steel-gray to almost jet black in the spring. The fish is streamlined, with an inferior mouth and a small/slender head that tapers to a fleshy snout. The mouth location allows the fish to feed off the bottom of its habitat. The body of this fish is elongated and slightly compressed.[3] It has a long falcate dorsal fin which is elevated anterior with 24-35 rays. It has a long caudal peduncle and a forked caudal fin. The anal fin contains 7-8 rays on average. The scales are large and contain 55-58 along the lateral line.[4]

Inferiorly positioned sucker mouth

Range and distribution

The Blue Sucker is native to the United States and Mexico. In the U.S., it lives in the Mississippi River basin north to Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Blue Sucker also lives in the Missouri River drainage to North Dakota and South Dakota and Montana. This species can also be found in the Gulf drainage from the Sabine River to the Rio grande.[5]


Huge migrations of these fast, powerful fish once migrated throughout the Mississippi River basin, and spring harvests of blue sucker were a staple food for early pioneers. Blue suckers are very rare today, thought to be due to the segmentation of habitat caused by the thousands of dams which have been built in the last century. Blues frequent the thalweg of large river systems, in heavy current.


Blue suckers obtain their food off the bottom of rivers and other bodies of freshwater through a mouth in the inferior position. Some organisms that they eat are aquatic insect larvae, crustaceans, plant materials and algae.


The Blue Sucker has a spawning time from around March until June. This varies on the location of the fish and also the water temperature. Fifty-three degrees is the average water temperature in which males and females find their spawning area. This area is in fast moving water around two feet deep. Rocks in the area will also be larger than gravel, but they will be smaller than boulders. The peak water temperature is sixty-two degrees and the actual spawning time will usually last around two weeks. Male suckers will continue to come to the area until spawning is officially over. Females will go to the area, lay her eggs, and leave once she is finished and they have been fertilized.[6]


The Blue Sucker is sensitive to water pollution, and is only able to live in water that is well irrigated or pollution-less. This is why it is common to see them in rivers.[7] The species is listed as least concern.


The Blue Sucker also goes by the name blackhorse, the bluefish, the muskellunge, the razor back, the sockerel, the gourd seed sucker, the Missouri Sucker, the slenderhead sucker, and the sweet sucker.[8]


"Cycleptus" is a Greek word meaning circular or slender. "Elongatus" is a Latin word meaning elongated.[9]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2014). "Cycleptus elongatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  2. ^ "Blue Sucker". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Eddy, Samuel; Surber, Thaddeus. Northern Fishes w=. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press. p. 108. 
  4. ^ Page, Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (2011). Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of North America North of Mexico (2nd ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. p. 304. 
  5. ^ "Cycleptus elongatus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm). Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Species Profile: Blue Sucker, Cycleptus elongatus". Roughfish.com. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Blue Sucker". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Blue Sucker". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Lyons, John. "Blue Sucker". Fishes of Wisconsin. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_sucker

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