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Fishes, Reptiles, and Amphibians. ENVIRON 311/EEB 320 Winter 2007. Fishes. Lepisosteus osseus : Longnose gar. Fish Anatomy. Fish Anatomy. Heterocercal tail Bony supports extend through top of caudal fin Caudal fin asymmetrical Homocercal tail Caudal fin symmetrical

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fishes reptiles and amphibians

Fishes, Reptiles, and Amphibians


Winter 2007


Lepisosteus osseus: Longnose gar

fish anatomy1
Fish Anatomy
  • Heterocercal tail
    • Bony supports extend through top of caudal fin
    • Caudal fin asymmetrical
  • Homocercal tail
    • Caudal fin symmetrical
    • No extension of spine through top of caudal fin
family petromyzontidae
Family Petromyzontidae
  • Lampreys
  • Lack jaws, as well as paired fins, scales, and gill covers
  • Body is elongate
  • Has unique larval stage, called the ammocoete stage
    • These lack fully functional eyes and mouthparts; feed on detritus and drift
  • Adults may be parasites, predators or non-feeders
    • Parasitic kinds use teeth on sucking disk to rasp feeding holes in fish

Add some jaws, paired fins, and opercula (gill covers)…

family lepisosteidae
Family Lepisosteidae
  • Gars
  • Long, thin body with heterocercal tail
  • Ganoid scales are armorlike
  • Long, fixed jaws and sharp teeth
  • Can breathe air directly
  • Usually an ambush predator
  • Prefers large bodies of water, esp. where weedy areas exist
family amiidae
Family Amiidae
  • Bowfin or Dogfish
  • Another very primitive fish with a hetero-cercal tail and the ability to breathe air
  • However, upper jaw (maxilla) is now more mobile
  • Often confused w/ snakehead, an invasive species
    • Bowfin has a shorter anal fin, heterocercal tail, and a gular plate (hard plate on throat)
  • A large, powerful ambush predator—occupies mainly weedy spots

Turn the primitive heterocercal tail into a homocercal tail and…

family salmonidae
Family Salmonidae
  • Trout, Salmon, and Ciscoes
  • Single soft dorsal fin with fleshy adipose fin and small scales
  • Medium to large freshwater fishes—very important to sport and commercial anglers
  • High O2 demand—needs cold water (e.g. ground-water streams and deep oligotrophic lakes)
  • Most are predatory, first on invertebrates and then on other fish
  • Some are migratory
family umbridae
Family Umbridae
  • Mudminnows
  • Soft dorsal fin placed far back on body
  • Rounded caudal fin
  • Small, hardy fish with ability to survive under low DO; found in a wide variety of habitats
  • Preys mainly on invertebrates
  • Very closely related to pikes, which it resembles
family esocidae
Family Esocidae
  • Pikes and pickerels
  • Soft dorsal fin place far back on body, roughly even with anal fin
  • Caudal fin is slightly forked
  • Snout is duck-billed in appearance
  • Voracious ambush predators of streams, lakes, and many wetlands
    • Feed primarily on other fish, including their own kind
family cyprinidae
Family Cyprinidae
  • Minnows
  • Simple looking with single soft dorsal fin
  • Mouth ranges from subterminal to upturned
  • Usually without complex patterning but occasionally colorful
  • Very large and diverse family
  • Includes shiners, carps, and goldfish (the latter two are invasive exotics)
  • Wide variety of feeding strategies—some are filter feeders, others predators
asian carp getting closer
Asian Carp…getting closer
  • bighead and silver
  • imported by catfish farmers to remove algae and suspended matter out of their ponds
  • Jump out of water and can injure boaters
  • Separated from Lake MI by an electric barrier

family catostomidae
Family Catostomidae
  • Suckers and redhorses
  • Look like cyprinids but have ventral mouth (suckerlike) with thick lips
  • Redhorses may be colorful and grow quite large
  • Benthic—sift through sediments for invertebrates and sometimes algae
family ictaluridae
Family Ictaluridae
  • Catfishes
  • Barbels, adipose fin and single spines in both the pectoral and dorsal fin characterize family
  • Are without scales
  • Many are benthic
  • Size ranges from tiny to enormous
  • Extra taste buds on body allow catfish to locate food where light levels are low
  • Add spines to dorsal and anal fin
  • Bring the pelvic fins closer to the pectoral fins
family percidae
Family Percidae
  • Perches, darters, and walleyes
  • Two dorsal fins: one spiny and one soft
  • Anal fin with 1-2 spines
  • Opercular spines
  • Darters are generally small and are primarily benthic
  • Others are good swimmers, voracious predators (first of inverts, then fish) and medium-sized
family centrarchidae
Family Centrarchidae
  • Sunfishes and tropical basses
  • Two dorsal fins, usually connected
  • Anal fin with 3 or more spines
  • Includes many sport fishes
  • Small to medium predators of inverts and other fish
family cottidae
Family Cottidae
  • Sculpins
  • Two dorsal fins
  • Tend to be dorso-ventrally flattened, with large head and dorsal eyes
  • Possess pre-opercular spines
  • Prefer cool to cold water—often associated with (and eaten by) trout
  • Prey mainly on inverts
family gasterosteidae
Family Gasterosteidae
  • Sticklebacks
  • Easily identified by spiny “finlets” on first dorsal fin
  • Caudal peduncle extremely thin
  • No scales
  • Found mainly in quieter waters—consume invertebrates
class amphibia
Class Amphibia
  • Amphibians
  • Name implies two life stages: larval and adult
  • Many live in or near water for much of their life cycle
  • Respiration may be accomplished through lungs, gills or simple diffusion through the skin, depending on species and life stage
  • Skin is generally moist, not covered with scales
  • Generally sensitive to human impacts on water quality
order caudata
Order Caudata
  • Salamanders
  • Two to four legs and a long tail—no claws
  • Two-thirds of world’s species live in Americas
  • Some species retain larval characteristics throughout life (e.g. external gills)
  • Some species estivate during periods of drought,
order anura
Order Anura
  • Frogs and Toads
  • Most have a familiar tadpole larval stage that develops in water
    • Larval stage may last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years
    • Feeds on algae, detritus, inverts
  • Adult stage has four legs and is typically terrestrial or semi-aquatic
    • Feeds mainly on invertebrates
    • Some may eat other frogs or snakes
family bufonidae bufo americanus
Family BufonidaeBufo americanus
  • American toad
  • Warty skin and short legs for hopping (characteristic of toads)
  • Adult occupies all kinds of terrestrial habitats, returns to water (often ephemeral) to breed
  • Tadpole is dark, has rounded tail with little pigment around the edges
family hylidae
Family Hylidae
  • Treefrogs
  • Slender, long limbs and digits
  • Usually small
  • May be somewhat arboreal
family hylidae hyla versicolor chrysocelis
Family HylidaeHyla versicolor/chrysocelis
  • Gray treefrog
  • Has adhesive pads on long toes, adapted to climbing
  • Adults warty with bright coloration under legs
  • Usually stay close to swampy areas
  • Tadpoles strongly patterned—may also be tinged with color
family hylidae pseudacris crucifer
Family HylidaePseudacris crucifer
  • Spring peeper
  • Very tiny—more likely to be heard than seen
    • If seen, can be identified by ‘x’ on back
  • Adults are somewhat arboreal, preferring swampy areas
  • Tadpoles tiny, with lightly mottled tails
family ranidae
Family Ranidae
  • True frogs
  • Skin fairly smooth with well-developed legs for leaping
  • Front toes lack adhesive pads and webbing; rear toes are webbed
family ranidae rana catesbeiana
Family RanidaeRana catesbeiana
  • Bullfrog
  • Adults are large, with no dorsolateral ridges and usually little patterning on body
  • Voice is deep croak
  • Spend much of life in or very close to water
  • Tadpoles are large; may take two seasons to mature
family ranidae rana pipiens
Family RanidaeRana pipiens
  • Leopard frog
  • Adult has dorsolateral ridges and dark, round spots on back
  • Voice is snore-like
  • Found in wide variety of wetlands; sometimes wanders into dry meadows
  • Tadpole mottled throughout
family ranidae rana sylvatica
Family RanidaeRana sylvatica
  • Wood frog
  • Adult easily identified by dark mask across face
  • Voice sounds like clucking
  • Prefers wooded bottomlands
  • Usually breeds early; sometimes before ice is off of lakes
  • Tadpole develops quickly; has high, relatively unmarked dorsal fin
class reptilia
Class Reptilia
  • Reptiles
  • Have scales (few exceptions) and clawed toes (if they have toes)
  • Young resemble adults
order squamata suborder serpentes
Order SquamataSuborder Serpentes
  • Family Colubridae: Water snakes
  • Nerodia sipedon sipedon, the northern water snake is only member in MI
  • Is not venomous, but is persecuted by many because of this perception
  • Common in/near rivers, swamps, bogs, etc.
order testudines
Order Testudines
  • Turtles
  • Characterized by carapace and four clawed legs
  • Underbelly called plastron—may be variously jointed
  • Some are exclusively aquatic—others are terrestrial
family chelydridae chelydra serpentina
Family ChelydridaeChelydra serpentina
  • Snapping turtle
  • Large, heavily armored turtle
  • Three-keeled carapace
  • Spends much of time submerged—rarely basks
  • In water, eats almost anything
  • Out of water, will try to bite almost anything, even cars
family emydidae graptemys geographica
Family EmydidaeGraptemys geographica
  • Map turtle
  • Single keel on carapace
  • Yellow spot behind eye
  • “Map” pattern on dorsum
  • Prefers large bodies of water
  • Good swimmer—will eat fish—but also likes to bask on logs
family emydidae chrysemys picta marginata
Family EmydidaeChrysemys picta marginata
  • Midland painted turtle
  • Carapace shallow keel (in females)
  • Marked with reds and oranges on sides and plastron
  • Prefers shallow, weedy spots
  • Omnivorous
family trionychidae apolone spinifera spinifera
Family TrionychidaeApolone spinifera spinifera
  • Eastern spiny softshell
  • Carapace is soft and pliable—has chocolate-chip pattern
  • Head is small with long snout for snorkeling
  • Mainly a turtle of large rivers
    • Spends lots of time swimming
    • Sometimes basks on logs or rocks, but always where water is close by
  • Largely predatory on fish and inverts