Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I haven't had much time to post the last couple of days. I've been out of the office working on a "fish population assessment", which means I've been netting fish on a lake and counting and measuring them. It's fun as far as work goes, although I come home covered with fish slime and algae. I've learned some interesting things, such as:

Freshwater drum (sheephead) actually make a grunting noise.

Channel catfish "talk" too.

Yellow perch have more pointy, spiky body parts than any other fish, but nothing hurts like getting spiked by a small bullhead.

Northern pike produce more slime than any other species.

Leftover grilled salmon is not the best lunch choice when you've been handling dead fish all morning.

Damselflies were out in full force, gathering in still areas where the pondweed grew to the surface. A loon silently approached within thirty feet of our boat. A solitary tern, maybe a Common or Forster's, perched on one of our net buoys. The lake was fairly quiet, although a few people were out on jet skis and pontoon boats. All in all, not a bad way to spend the work day.

9 comments:

Sylvia said...

Have you ever heard a frog go "Eek!!"? Sometimes I surprise American bullfrogs by the pond here and they let out a surprised froggy exclamation before leaping into the water. It sounds pretty funny.

lené said...

Hi Deb --
Thanks for the fish report. I never thought about them talking. I caught a few perch, a rainbow trout, and a few "shiners" (not sure what they are) last week and felt fish slime for the first time, as well as the spikes of yellow perch.

TroutGrrrl said...

I run into more trout than any other category of fish these days, and I've heard little brookies make petite little 'oinking' or 'grunting' noises too. I'm not sure how they accomplish this...by squeaking bony/cartilagenous parts against each other? They don't have voices like we mammals and birds and amphibians do - that requires lungs and vocal chords as far as I can remember. What's your guess?

Deb said...

It may have something to do with forcing gas from the swim bladder; I'll have to get out my ichthyology textbooks and find out more about it! :) The catfish was just flapping its lips open and shut (do fish have lips?)

Dan Trabue said...

So, where does one sign up for that job?

the dharma bum said...

deb, I'm sure it's not all fun, but spending time on a lake during the dog days of summer beats spending 9 hours a day in climate-controlled cubeville.

thanks for an interesting (and kind of funny) post. i've heard trout occasionally make grunting sorts of noises when i'm trying to dislodge a hook before. i've never liked it when they do that, i usually take it as a sign that it's time to get them back in the water without delay.

Eleutheros said...

Wouldn't do for me to have a job like that. If anyone came to check up on me, I'd have a hibachi going on the boat and when asked how many fish I'd caught and measured, I'd say,"Ah, seven .... no ... it was four ... yeah, four, that's the ticket. Pass me some of those hushpuppies ..."

Deb said...

I don't have a Hibachi on board, but I do have a fillet knife and cooler full of ice ;) If we have to sacrifice a few fish in the name of scientific fisheries management, I'll be damned if I'm going to waste a single good one!

Your ichthyology lesson of the day, from Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology by Moyle and Cech:

Internally, croakers are notable for their multibranched swimbladder and huge otoliths. Both features are presumably related to the fact that croakers produce loud sounds, especially during spawning season, by vibrating muscles associated with the swimbladder...it is quite possible that their elaborate sound-producing and receiving systems may assist them in finding their way about and communicating with each other.

It is a fun job, and yes it does beat sitting in a climate controlled cubicle!

Floridacracker said...

Your freshwater drum's larger marine relative, the black drum makes an incredibly loud, deep sound by vibrating it's swim bladder. During the late winter-early spring period, huge 70+ pounders move into coastal bays to spawn.
I have been tent camping on the shore where you could actually hear the drumming in the nearby water when your head was on the floor of the tent. The sound was intense enough to be transmitted clearly.