Bowfin
Overview
 
The Bowfin, Amia calva, is the last surviving member of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Amiiformes
Amiiformes
Amiiformes is an order of fish, of which only one species, the Bowfin, Amia calva, is still extant.-Taxonomy:Amiiformes Hay 1929*Superfamily Amioidea Bonaparte 1838**Family Amiidae Bonaparte 1837***Subfamily Amiinae Bonaparte 1837...

 (which includes 3 additional, now-extinct families dating from the Jurassic
Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

, to the Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

), and of the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Amiidae
Amiidae
Amiidae is a family of primitive ray-finned fish. Only one species, Amia calva, the bowfin, survives today, although additional species in all four subfamilies are known from Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene fossils....

 (which contains numerous species in about four subfamilies, only one of which, Amiinae, is still extant). The Bowfin is a freshwater piscivore
Piscivore
A piscivore is a carnivorous animal which eats primarily fish. Piscivory was the diet of early tetrapods , insectivory came next, then in time reptiles added herbivory....

, preying on fish and larger aquatic invertebrates by ambush or stalking. Native to southeastern Canada and eastern United States, they prefer shallow, weedy waters of lakes or protected back waters of rivers.
Encyclopedia
The Bowfin, Amia calva, is the last surviving member of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Amiiformes
Amiiformes
Amiiformes is an order of fish, of which only one species, the Bowfin, Amia calva, is still extant.-Taxonomy:Amiiformes Hay 1929*Superfamily Amioidea Bonaparte 1838**Family Amiidae Bonaparte 1837***Subfamily Amiinae Bonaparte 1837...

 (which includes 3 additional, now-extinct families dating from the Jurassic
Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

, to the Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

), and of the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Amiidae
Amiidae
Amiidae is a family of primitive ray-finned fish. Only one species, Amia calva, the bowfin, survives today, although additional species in all four subfamilies are known from Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene fossils....

 (which contains numerous species in about four subfamilies, only one of which, Amiinae, is still extant). The Bowfin is a freshwater piscivore
Piscivore
A piscivore is a carnivorous animal which eats primarily fish. Piscivory was the diet of early tetrapods , insectivory came next, then in time reptiles added herbivory....

, preying on fish and larger aquatic invertebrates by ambush or stalking. Native to southeastern Canada and eastern United States, they prefer shallow, weedy waters of lakes or protected back waters of rivers. Bowfin are able to breath air, using their swim bladder as a primitive lung
Lung
The lung is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located near the backbone on either side of the heart...

 and can be seen coming to the surface and gulping air even in well oxygenated water. This air-breathing ability allows them to utilize shoreline habitats that are not accessible to other predator fish.

Description and biology

The most distinctive characteristic of the bowfin is its very long dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 consisting of 145 to 250 rays, and running from mid-back to the base of the tail. The caudal fin is a single lobe, though heterocercal. They can grow up to 109 centimetres (42.9 in) in length, and weigh 9.75 kilograms (21.5 lb). Other noticeable features are the black "eye spot" usually found high on the caudal peduncle, and the presence of a gular plate. The gular plate is a bony plate located on the exterior of the lower jaw, between the two sides of the lower jaw bone.

The bowfin is an indiscriminate predator that readily preys on a broad variety of arthropod and vertebrate prey, from insects and crawfish to other fish and frogs.

The male bowfin exhibits extensive parental care. The male clears an area in the mud for the female to lay eggs in, and then fertilizes them. He hovers nearby and aggressively protects the eggs and the fry after they emerge.

Fishing

Bowfin are usually not considered a good food fish compared to more popular freshwater gamefish species, such as pike
Esox
Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present.The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike...

 or trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

. They are generally regarded as trash fish by sportsmen in the United States, because they eat more desirable species, including crayfish
Crayfish
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads – members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related...

. They will occasionally strike - and sometimes ruin with their powerful jaws - artificial lures, but they generally strike on live or cut fishes. When hooked, Bowfin fight powerfully. Bowfin should be handled carefully, as they have very sharp teeth. They will continue to struggle even when pulled out of the water, and will attempt to bite anyone who is handling them.

The list of local and alternate names the bowfin is known by is lengthy, but common ones include "dogfish", "mudfish", "grindle" (or "grinnel"),"swamp muskie", "black fish", "cottonfish" "swamp bass", "poisson-castor", "Speckled Cat" "beaverfish", "Cypress trout" and "lawyer". In parts of Louisiana they are called "tchoupique" or "choupique".

Bowfin are generally regarded as trash fish by sportsmen, because they eat more desirable species including crayfish. The bow fin is considered a very poor-eating fish compared to more popular game fish. The bowfin will however strike a lure just as good as a bass or pike and grows as large as a bass and will fight just as well when hooked. The Bowfin as a species is in the least concern category. Future management for the bowfin looks as though it has not been considered by many. The bowfin is a thriving species where it is found and considered a pest by most.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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