Fish Files 10

Fish Files in your Backyard

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

Where do I live?

My natural home is throughout North America, from the St. Laurence-Great Lakes system to the southern states of Alabama and Oklahoma. You can find me in freshwater. I like to hide in shallow, rocky areas of lakes, or in clear gravel-bottom pools of rivers and cool flowing streams.

What do I look like?

My mouth is not as big as my cousin the largemouth bass. I am generally a brown colour, but I can be olive green with a yellow-white belly. I have dark mottling or vertical bands on my back and sides, and my eyes are red. The boys in my family are usually smaller than the girls. We can range in weight from 2 to 6 pounds, but have been found larger than that.

What is unique about me?

Like the largemouth bass, I have been introduced in areas outside of my natural habitat because of my popularity. In the 1800’s I used to be transported on trains to new areas because of how tough I am.

How common am I?

I am now a very common and popular fish with all types of anglers, and am found all over Canada and the United States.

Jackknife Fish (Equetus lanceolatus)

Where do I live?

I am found in marine environments in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean. I am also a common aquarium fish. I like to hide in caves and crevices but you may see me swimming along sandy bottoms near coral reefs.

What do I look like?

I am an interestingly shaped fish with long dorsal and caudal fins, which is said to resemble a jackknife. I am silver in colour with black bars.

What do I eat?

I mainly eat small shrimps and crabs, but I also like polychaete worms and gastropod molluscs. Be careful if your including me in you home aquarium because I also eat small reef fish.

What is unique about me?

The shape of my body may confuse predators and prey by appearing to be two different fish.

How Common am I?

I am only found in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean but I am not threatened or endangered.