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Look at your Minnows!


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I've been getting minnows from my local bait shop and have seen some weird looking fatheads...

 

Next time you get some minnows take a look at the batch. I've found a brown, minnow looking fish, with spines on the back, I'm not sure what it is...I'm going to try and identify it, but has anyone else experienced the same thing?

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QUOTE(jim b @ Jan 29 2007, 08:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been getting minnows from my local bait shop and have seen some weird looking fatheads...

 

Next time you get some minnows take a look at the batch. I've found a brown, minnow looking fish, with spines on the back, I'm not sure what it is...I'm going to try and identify it, but has anyone else experienced the same thing?

 

Just a guess but perhaps a stickleback?

 

Stickleback

 

Not unusual to get a "weird" minnow every once in a while, especially sticklebacks or other creek denizens. Happens frequently, especially if the local supplier seines from the creeks at all. Another good recommendation is once through fishing, never dump your minnows back into the water. Accidental bait bucket introductions are believed to be a very common source of unintended introductions.

 

-BW

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Jim

 

That sounds like a stickleback. I believe it to be a native species (Tim?) where it is seined and sold with the desired baitfish. I don't know if it is locally native, but I'm sure that will be answered by those that do know. I have seen them for many years, even keeping them in aquariums when I was a kid.

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Jim

 

That sounds like a stickleback. I believe it to be a native species (Tim?) where it is seined and sold with the desired baitfish. I don't know if it is locally native, but I'm sure that will be answered by those that do know. I have seen them for many years, even keeping them in aquariums when I was a kid.

 

Illinois has two native species of sticklebacks.

 

Nine-spined stickleback

 

http://www.unb.ca/cri/projects/Fish_key/Ga.../9_spine_MG.htm

 

and brook stickleback

 

http://www.iowadnr.com/fish/iafish/bsb-card.html

 

Brian's link is to the 3 spined stickleback which is distributed on both coasts as well as the eastern hemisphere but is an exotic invader in the Great Lakes. I'm not aware of range expansions of 3 spined sticklebacks outside the Great Lakes or its' tributaries, but that may easily have occurred. If this is a stickleback, it's probably a brook stickleback. It may have snuck into the fathead minnow pond where the aquaculturist was raising them and been shipped out with the rest. It's pretty common in aquaculture to have a few oops! species in with the crop.

 

If this were a three-spined stickleback, this bait shop could be expanding the range of an exotic species. Even if this is only a brook stickleback, or a nine-spine, transfering species between systems is always a bad idea. Accidental (or intentional) releases of these fish could unnaturally expand their native range. Disease transfers are a possibility as well. As Brian suggests, this is the very reason you shouldn't dump your minnows out in the lake.

 

If there's a gentle way to discourage the selling of these fish by your bait distributor, that would be an excellent thing to do. Some places have very stringent laws regarding bait-bucket transfers. We may already be headed in that direction, but the last I knew, the bait sellers are still policing themselves.

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Illinois has two native species of sticklebacks.

 

Nine-spined stickleback

 

http://www.unb.ca/cri/projects/Fish_key/Ga.../9_spine_MG.htm

 

and brook stickleback

 

http://www.iowadnr.com/fish/iafish/bsb-card.html

 

Brian's link is to the 3 spined stickleback which is distributed on both coasts as well as the eastern hemisphere but is an exotic invader in the Great Lakes. I'm not aware of range expansions of 3 spined sticklebacks outside the Great Lakes or its' tributaries, but that may easily have occurred. If this is a stickleback, it's probably a brook stickleback. It may have snuck into the fathead minnow pond where the aquaculturist was raising them and been shipped out with the rest. It's pretty common in aquaculture to have a few oops! species in with the crop.

 

If this were a three-spined stickleback, this bait shop could be expanding the range of an exotic species. Even if this is only a brook stickleback, or a nine-spine, transfering species between systems is always a bad idea. Accidental (or intentional) releases of these fish could unnaturally expand their native range. Disease transfers are a possibility as well. As Brian suggests, this is the very reason you shouldn't dump your minnows out in the lake.

 

If there's a gentle way to discourage the selling of these fish by your bait distributor, that would be an excellent thing to do. Some places have very stringent laws regarding bait-bucket transfers. We may already be headed in that direction, but the last I knew, the bait sellers are still policing themselves.

 

Hi Tim, it's definately a stickleback. Thanks for the help. I'm not sure though which one it is...I'll have to take a closer look next time I get one. I know it wasn't a brook stickleback. It looked more like the 9 spined stickleback, but I'm not confident of how many spines it had.

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