Monday, November 16, 2009

The Armored Catfish of Wekiwa Springs



I was at a professional development class in Florida last week, and as I usually like to do, I ran off into the nearest woods as soon as the class was over. This time it was to Wekiwa Springs State Park, which is a beautiful little park about an hour north of Orlando. I saw some pretty cool things there, including an armadillo, which we don't get in Jersey (sorry, I only got a blurry photo of his butt as he was running away).

The photo above is of the river filling with armored catfish (aka Orinoko sailfin catfish, plecostomus, pleco). These are an invasive species that has been spreading throughout Florida since about 1971. It is believed that they escaped and/or were released from aquariums and aquarium fish farms. They are originally from the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela and Colombia.

Here is a closeup from the Army Corp of Engineers, who is interested in these invasives because they like to destroy what the Corp has built.



During the day these catfish burrow into the river banks, causing erosion. At night they come out by the thousands to feed. All of the fish in the top photo are facing to the left, so the water flowing from the spring washes algae and small critters right into their mouths. Every once in a while, they come to the surface and take a gulp of air. All of this gulping sounded like someone was dropping stones into the water. These fish were very close to the spring, which apparently has low oxygen content as it comes out of the ground. Armored catfish can breath air fairly well, and can survive out of the water up to 30 hours!

Three types of heron - a green, a little blue and a great blue (named Henry according to the ranger) - stood to the side, patiently trying to find something to eat besides an armored catfish. Because of their tough, armored skin and sharp spines, these have been known to choke birds who tried to eat them. But the bears love them. The ranger told me that last year a group of volunteers "gigged" (speared) 5000 of them and left them out in the woods for the bears.

Here is some more info about these invasives and the damage they can cause.

15 comments:

  1. I just dug a pond 8 months ago. The closet pond to me is 1,000 feet away. I now have Armored Catfish 18 inches long.. Did they walk that far from a large pond to my 100,000 square ft. pond..

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  2. Whoops,.. The last comment should be 10,000 SQ. FT. pond

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  3. Hi Bob:

    I have not heard of armored catfish "walking" between bodies of water, although some species of fish such as the Northern Snakehead do this. Most likely the armored catfish were carried between the ponds inadvertantly, such as by a bird that flew away with one but then dropped it after it realized it was not good eatin', or by an animal that walked between the two ponds with an egg stuck to it. It might also be possible that at some point heavy rains caused flooding, allowing fish or eggs to be carried between the ponds.

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  4. IF YOU SEE LARGE QUANTITIES OF THE ARMORED CAT FISH EMAIL ME AT FORSYTH2591@AOL.COM
    I WILL CATYCH AS MUCH AND REMOVE THEM

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  5. can you eat these? We have many in our lake in south florida

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  6. I was told they are a little tough to clean, but with a set of heavy meat scissors,it can be done,and they taste like lobster.....sounds yummy to me!

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  7. 春夏の最新LOUIS VUITTON財布新作のシリーズの運動靴。衣服の草の元素をいぶしを気楽に高級で灰色の調子中に溶け込んで、絶対に少女の一番のお気に入りのです!このヴィトンシリーズは最も結び付けて動感のヴィトンコピー十分な運動靴と清新な白色のLOUIS VUITTON財布新作小さい洋服を運ぶことができて、新しい百の同類の友達が早くやってみましょうを両買いに来が好きです。ヴィトンは近頃適当なのは1モデルののシリーズを出しました。このシリーズは衣服ヴィトンコピーの草をいぶす霊感のために製造して、デザイナーはまずさっぱりしていて上品なグレーを基礎にして、また靴のかかととソール所で深さLOUIS VUITTON財布新作の2種類の紫色を注ぎ込んで飾りを添えて、全体は非常に清新だと感じます。ジャージズボン、スカートによく合うのだであろうと。


    赤色の市場ニーズについて日に日に大いに増加していて、全世界のシャネル激安有名な靴の靴商はもちろんこの市場ニーズを見逃すことはでき(ありえ)なくて、新しい1年のご光臨、各は有名な次から次へとお祝いシャネル激安の赤色の鮮やかで美しくて高尚上品なワインレッドのハイヒールの靴のシリーズを放しだします。女性美、モダンな範、スーパーコピーアクセサリ優雅な調子、この便はシャネルの3種類の箴言で、しかもこちらのイタリアのデザイナーの設計の中で至る所に体現しています。シャネル赤色のこの靴は透明なフィルムを溶け込んで、足型にシャネル激安完璧な展示を得させて、オープントゥの潮流のまた流行、ピンヒールは魅力を満たして、並外れている誘惑のスーパーコピーアクセサリ息に現れ出ます。赤色の休日の全世界の実力者の赤色のハイヒールの靴のシリーズ、赤色の代表はお祝スーパーコピーアクセサリいして、赤色のハイヒールの靴も普通はお祝いの祝日でやっと踏むです。


    すばらしい機関車の靴は行って改めて演繹して、太く靴底の設計を畳むのがとつかみと少しも現クロエ財布コピーさない太って大きくて、パンツスタイルのクロエ財布コピー第一選択によく合うのです。この黒色の皮革のニーハイブーツが太い中にとフリーボードがあって効果を支えるだけではないをの設計して、その上全体を更に流行させます。スエード革の材質はいくつ(か)の四半期風靡して、依然としてみんなの心の中の第一選択の単品です。このコーヒー色のロングブーツがシンプルで復古エムシーエム財布スーパーコピーして、最もミニスカートによく合って身につけているのエムシーエム財布スーパーコピーに適合します。ひとペア心地良い、折りたたむ大きさまたほとんどファンデーションの箱と相当するぺたんこシューズ、絶対に旅行中の中の必需品です!

    彼女は更に数十組のグッチバッグ人気ランキングすばらしい靴型を持ちます。このひとペアのグッチ激安簡単な加えないいかなる飾ったポインテッドトゥのグッチ激安ハイヒール、更に数年間コーディネート自在の鋭利な武器になりました。2014秋冬グッチハイヒールは最もすばらしい優雅でシンプルな造型を保留して、てきぱきしているポインテッドトゥの靴設計の線がなめらかで、採用グッチ激安する柔軟な小さいヒツジの皮とセーム革、作りだして皮の効果の別なものの造型をつづり合わせて、中等で高い先は出社時間にあるとも楽な身なりのグッチバッグ人気ランキングことができます。彼は靴のつま先は最も先端のが1枚の特大で長い形の四角ボタンで縫うに、伝統の靴設計をグッチバッグ人気ランキング革新して、大きい大の金属グッチ激安ボタンは高貴で優雅なことに見えるだけではなくて、同じく靴に服装の組み合わせ中で眼の玉を書き入れる効果を果たすことができさせて。

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  8. These critters also have a bad habit of eating other kinds of fish eggs, have seen fish populations drop in many lakes when the city or state thinks it's a good idea to put a bunch in a lake for cleanup. They clean up alrite, the bass and brim and other species of fish suffer because of these fish. But yes very tasty just hard to clean.

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