Fish Families Family Identification
Acipenseridae / Sturgeon Family: • Rows of bony scales • Ventral Mouth, with barbels • Lake Sturgeon in the Great Lakes • Flesh is tasty!
Amiidae / Bowfin Family: Amia calva
Amiidae / Bowfin Family: • Long dorsal fin across most of the back • Body covered with scales • Long bony plate under the lower jaw • Only one species exists “living fossil”
Anguillidae / Freshwater Eel Family • The American Eel is distinguished by its shape • Long dorsal, caudal and anal fins • Toothed jaws, and the single gill opening. • Lampreys have a similar shape and long dorsal fins but have no jaws (teeth are in a sucking disc) and there are 7 gill openings – Lamprey NOT included with this group • Found in N. Atlantic and Great Lakes Region
Antherinidae / Silverside Family • Brook silversides are known for leaping out of the water over and over again-especially on moonlit nights. • Brook silversides are small, almost see-through fish that grow to about 3” long
Catostomidae / Sucker Family • Single soft rayed dorsal fin • Toothless jaws, teeth in throat only • Cycloid scales • Fleshy, protruding lips
Centrarchidae / Sunfish Family • Deep-bodied and compressed laterally • Fins often have both soft rays and stiff spines • Sunfish generally thrive in warm water • All sunfish are nest builders, and their saucer-shaped nests can be frequently observed along the shoreline of ponds, lakes and streams in late spring. • An active, nest-guarding male can often be observed swimming within the nest vicinity, guarding both eggs and newly-hatched young. A few days after hatching, the young emerge from the nest, at which time the guarding parent leaves them to care for themselves. • All sunfish are carnivorous.
Cottidae – Sculpin Family • Large head • Fanlike pectoral fins • No spines in anal fin. • This is a very large family with about 300 species. • Most species are found in Arctic or temperate waters and are bottom dwellers. • They typically occur in shallow or inter-tidal zones, though some species occur in deep ocean and others in fresh water.
Cyprinidae – Minnow Family • No jaw teeth, ONE dorsal fin • 1-3 rows of pharyngeal teeth • Barbels sometimes present. • This huge family lives almost exclusively in freshwater, though some of its members stray into brackish water. • There are more than two thousand species in this family
Esocidae – Pike Family • Members of the pike family have a long, streamlined profile that is found among predators in many fish families throughout the world. • Their fins are soft rayed, lacking the stiff spines found in other familiar fishes, such as sunfish and yellow perch. • Median fins include the dorsal and anal fins, located opposite each other about three-quarters of the way back towards the tail. • The pelvic fins are located midway on the fish's belly. • The pectoral fins are positioned closer to the head.
Esocidae – Pike Family • These ambush predators are known for their voracious appetites, feeding on prey fish • Because they are such aggressive predators, they are also popular fish for anglers to catch
Gasterosteidae / Stickleback Family: • Sticklebacks are small fish • They have 2,3 or more strong spines on the back in front of the dorsal fin • (spines that they can erect or depress at will) • Some of them have bony plates in the scaleless skin, but others do not.
Gasterosteidae / Stickleback Family: • Found in marine (salt), brackish (mixed) & freshwater habitats in the northern hemisphere • Spawning almost always takes place in freshwater • Eggs usually develop in a nest built & guarded by the male.
Ictaluridae / N. American Catfish Family: • Catfish do not have scales, and are aged by making cross sections of the pectoral spines to read growth rings. • The fin spines can be very toxic because of poisonous cell secretions on the spine but are not fatal to humans. • Wounds can be painful and extremely swollen for days although in most cases the wasp-like sensation fades after an hour and is gone in about 4-5 hours. • Madtoms are named for their hyperactive, darting and dashing behavior. • Bullhead catfishes are hardy and very tolerant of domestic pollution. • FYI:Larger catfishes, such as the Channel Catfish, are commercially important in the U.S.A. and are cultured in ponds. Catfish restaurant dinners are a specialty in the southern U.S.A. and catfish figure prominently in fish and chips. These fishes are also sought after by anglers, being strong fighters and good eating.
Ictaluridae • All species construct nests and protect their young, although some smaller species take advantage of pollution by nesting in beer cans • The barbels and skin are taste and touch sensitive and used to detect food. • This is particularly useful in muddy water and at night. Many of these catfishes are nocturnal. "Taste" can also be used in breeding behavior and in schooling . Most catfish also have excellent hearing!
Lepisosteidae / Gar Family: • Gars are found in freshwaters of North America sometimes in brackish water & rarely the sea. • Gars have elongate jaws ("gar" is Old English for spear) filled with needle-like teeth. • The ganoid scales are heavy, peg and groove hinged, non-overlapping, rhombic and plate-like, forming an effective armor. • Dorsal and anal fins are near the tail.