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Carp

Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

A rather abundant freshwater fish in our area is the common carp, Cyprinus carpio. It was introduced to the U.S. in 1831 from its native home in eastern Europe and Asia, and is now one of the most common large fish species where it occurs. In fact, the same can be said for many parts of the world where they have been introduced.

The Chicken Bone is Connected to the Marsh Bone. Connecting the Dots of Coastal Health and Human Well-being.

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

The following story illustrates how components of the environment and economy are interconnected.

"I live in Montana. Why should I care about Louisiana's coastal erosion?" "I'm a teacher in Ohio. Why should I care?" "Yeah, I'm a car dealer in Helena, Arkansas. It doesn't affect me!"

WRONG! It does affect you, but I'm not surprised that you didn't know. As a matter of fact, few Louisianans have been apprized of their dependence on our coastal wetlands.

Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

Naturalists always maintain a mental list of "target species" that they really want to see. Some naturalists are fanatic in their quest, while others work at seeing their quarry, but are not bitterly disappointed when they do not. They just look forward to the next adventure. I am in the latter group. It is all about the adventure to me, but I can get very excited when I am successful.

Flying Fish: Missiles of the Sea

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

Among the intriguing animals along the Louisiana coast are the flying fish. There are more than 50 species worldwide, with eight in the Gulf of Mexico, and they are most abundant in tropical and subtropical marine waters. Lucky for us, flying fish occur off the coast of Louisiana. It is a common creature of clear blue water, and schools of these fishes escape our attention when streaking through the water. When they decide to become airborne, the invisibility ceases and the spectacle begins.

Bull Sharks, Carcharhinus leucus, In Coastal Estuaries

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

There is a persistent rumor that there are sharks in coastal estuaries such as Lake Pontchartrain – and the rumor is true.

We now know that each summer as coastal waters warm the Pontchartrain and Barataria-Terrebonne Basins are invaded by huge numbers of bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucus), one of the species considered potentially dangerous to humans. But there is no need for fear. The invaders are immature with most being 4-5 feet long, and the rare report of a 6-footer.

Paddlefish

Article Title
Paddlefish, Delta Journal, Times-Picayune, December 9, 2007, C-11

Delta Journal

by Bob Thomas

One of the strangest looking fish in coastal Louisiana is the paddlefish (or, spoonbill), Polyodon spathula.

It lives in the Mississippi River and its tributaries and distributaries. It is almost always found in rather murky water associated with river flood plains.

There is only one other member of its family (Polyodontidae), and that species occurs in the Yangtze River of China.

Fish Slime

Article Title
Fish Slime, Delta Journal, Times Picayune, 2-3-08 C-9.jpg

Delta Journal

by Bob Thomas

If you’ve caught fish, you know they are very slimy. And virtually every species is, but why?

Slime in the result of glycol-proteins that are produced in the epidermis and combine with water to create mucus. Most have a thin layer, but some just gush slime, making them hard to hold and rather irritating to the squeamish.

One of the obvious functions of slime is that it reduces drag by coating the irregular surface of the scales, thus enabling the fish to slip easily through its environment.