Naturespeak

October 7, 2010

Dead Fish Talking

Filed under: Uncategorized — wykes @ 9:13 pm

Though I love catching and eating fish from Dollar Lake, I do not enjoy cleaning them. It is a necessary function of rendering fish to filet but part of the problem involves having to destroy their perfect form. When a freshly dead sunfish or perch is lying on my cutting board, the naturalist in me requires that I give “the specimen” a good look over before even thinking about unsheathing my knife. You could say that I am trying to see what the fish can tell me about life in the weedy depths of the lake. Even after being rendered into parts, the partial fish may still have something to say, so I keep on listening. The only time I do not want a fish talking to me is after I have eaten it!

So far, none of my fish have actually talked. They have not murmured things like “I see dead people” or “help” but my recent set of fish – a nice little batch of Perch, Bluegill, and two Pumpkinseed Sunfish -did provide some mute testimony regarding scale design, snails, and the meaning of roughage.

The first step in the fish preparation process is the scaling. This is the part I really hate because it removes the beautifully patterned skin of the creature. The scales themselves have no color but they are things of beauty none-the-less. I saved samples from each fish in order to later look at them under high magnification. The resulting images are, even considering my meager micro-photo abilities, fascinating.

Scales are thin rigid plates that both protect the fish and streamline their form for swimming. Each scale is imbedded in the skin and only a small part of it is exposed (see skin detail here). Perch have a heavily scalloped scale (see above and beginning photo) that looks very much like a baseball mitt. The Bluegill (see here) and Sunfish (see below) are more rectangular in outline. On all three images, the exposed portion is facing downward and the embedded part is uppermost. All three species have a type of structure called a Ctenoid scale which means that the exposed portion has “teeth” or multiple tiny spines.

Multiple concentric lines on the scale reveal seasonal growth patterns. These lines are somewhat like rings on a tree, but only the more prominent lines are actual year indicators (the rest are random records of yesterday, the day before last Tuesday, etc.). It takes some staining and light angling to really see these annular lines, but you can make them out on my pictures if you squint and stand on your head. If you can’t make them out then please take my word for it that fish cannot lie about their age. The perch was probably about three or four years old by the time it latched onto that worm-concealed hook dangling in Dollar Lake.

Both of the Pumpkinseed Sunfish spilled their guts in order to inform me that they enjoyed multiple escargot meals while dining below the waves. Their stomachs were packed with small orangish discs like those shown above (and in detail here). These discs are operculums from Banded Mystery Snails (now that’s a name!).  Not all snail species have them, but some possess this hard operculum which acts as a front door whenever the creature withdraws into its shell (see below). It is carried back behind the shell, on top of the fleshy foot, when the snail is roaming out and about.

It should be no surprise that these snails would compose a large part of the fish diet because they are extremely common in the lake. The shoreline of the lake is littered with their empty shells and live individuals can be seen climbing over the aquatic vegetation (see above). It was interesting to see that the pumpkinseeds seemed to have the corner on this shellfish market. The shells are easily crushed on the smaller individuals and the fleshy creatures contained within are probably quite the morsel.

It appears that the only downside to eating Banded Mystery Snails are those darned operculums. They do not break down and therefore accumulate in the stomach. I can only imagine what the fish has to say when it eventually has to pass these things. I mean their anal opening isn’t all that large and, well…..the question is begged: when a fish screams underwater does the sound reach the surface? I will be listening on my next visit to the lake.

30 Comments »

  1. Beautiful.
    Fish have to be so very dead before I will undertake (so to speak) to gut them. Because their anal openings always make a noise when the filet knife gets near them, and I’m afraid I relate to that a little too deeply.
    That said, once that has been broached I too examine stomach contents.

    Comment by Murr Brewster — October 11, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  2. I cannot thank you enough for the article post.Really thank you!

    Comment by Omar Witter — February 27, 2012 @ 4:29 am

  3. I really liked your article.Really thank you! Really Cool.

    Comment by Litzy Gardener — February 27, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  4. I cannot thank you enough for the post.Much thanks again.

    Comment by Anna Glasco — February 27, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  5. Very informative article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

    Comment by Kenna Jewett — February 27, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  6. Looking forward to reading more. Great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

    Comment by Robert Cassell — February 27, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  7. This is one awesome article post.Thanks Again.

    Comment by Shayna Heflin — February 27, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  8. I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Really thank you! Want more.

    Comment by Samantha Belliveau — February 27, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  9. Say, you got a nice blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.

    Comment by Kathryn Howland — February 28, 2012 @ 1:28 am

  10. Major thanks for the blog article.Really thank you! Great.

    Comment by Emery Odea — February 28, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  11. Appreciate you sharing, great article.Much thanks again. Will read on…

    Comment by Ezequiel Sharpe — February 28, 2012 @ 2:52 am

  12. Hey, thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Great.

    Comment by Jane Hendon — February 28, 2012 @ 3:47 am

  13. I think this is a real great blog.Much thanks again. Want more.

    Comment by Abbie Fish — February 28, 2012 @ 4:15 am

  14. Major thanks for the article.Much thanks again. Great.

    Comment by Avery Craine — February 28, 2012 @ 4:43 am

  15. I really liked your post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    Comment by Yaretzi Arenas — February 28, 2012 @ 5:12 am

  16. Very neat article. Much obliged.

    Comment by Jack Masson — February 28, 2012 @ 5:41 am

  17. Major thankies for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

    Comment by Nick Reveles — February 28, 2012 @ 6:10 am

  18. I conceive this internet site has extremely great indited content material posts .

    Comment by Compaq Chargers — November 29, 2012 @ 3:35 am

  19. It’s hard to search out knowledgeable individuals on this topic, but you sound like you realize what you are speaking about! Thanks

    Comment by Hausfrauen Privat — November 30, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  20. One thing I’d really like to say is before purchasing more laptop or computer memory, check out the machine within which it would be installed. When the machine is running Windows XP, for instance, the memory limit is 3.25GB. Applying over this would just constitute a waste. Make sure that one’s mother board can handle the upgrade volume, as well. Interesting blog post.

    Comment by Elinore Subido — December 3, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  21. I have been surfing online greater than three hours these days, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is lovely value enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers created just proper content material as you probably did, the internet can be considerably a lot more useful than ever before.

    Comment by what is monthly mortgage payment — December 6, 2012 @ 5:47 am

  22. What I wouldnt get for possess a controversy along with you relating to this. You just let them know lots of items that come from nowhere quick in which Internet marketing fairly certain Identity use a fair picture. Your weblog is extremely very good creatively, Soon after all people will not be bored stiff. But other men and women who is able to see past the video clips and also the design will not be thus pleased utilizing your generic understanding of this specific matter.

    Comment by home online jobslhow to earn daily incomeljobs from homelmake money at homelmake money online from homelwork from home — December 8, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  23. Hi my loved one! I want to say that this write-up is wonderful, excellent written and contain almost all vital infos. I would like to peer far more posts like this .

    Comment by Otto Kosel — December 10, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  24. I was advised this site by my cousin. I am not positive no matter if this post is written by him as nobody else know such comprehensive about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks!

    Comment by Clementine Karpstein — December 12, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  25. Terrific paintings! This really is the sort of information that must be shared across the net. Shame on the seek for no longer positioning this publish upper! Come on more than and speak over with my site . Thank you =)

    Comment by web programmer — December 17, 2012 @ 8:50 am

  26. I write a comment each time I like a post on a website or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the discussion. It’s triggered by the sincerness displayed in the article I read. And on this article %BLOG_TITLE%. I was actually moved enough to drop a commenta response ;) I do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be simply me or does it appear like a few of these responses appear like coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing on additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Could you make a list every one of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?|

    Comment by Maegan Bettinger — December 25, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

  27. You produced some decent points there. I looked on the net towards the problem and discovered most people go together with together together with your internet web site.

    Comment by Best DSLR For Video — December 30, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  28. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Comment by kody pocztowe poznań — April 16, 2013 @ 11:37 am

  29. So, recycling of plastic is good strategy to guard our environment from pollution and to save non-renewable sources.
    Because this furniture is cheap, it does not represent class.

    A lot of companies have built all-plastic-objects with
    no attempt to mimic natural materials, claiming one’s “plastic” nature linked to young people values of lightness, play,
    color and freshness.

    Comment by grosfillex furniture — July 31, 2014 @ 6:05 am

  30. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

    Comment by internet providers long grove ia — October 8, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress