Paddlefish

PaddlefishPaddlefish Polyodon spathula. This primitive fish, also known as a “spoonbill cat”, is unmistakable with its elongated rostrum.  Previously thought to be utilized for digging up the bottom sediment, in recent years it was determined in laboratory experiements  that the bill bears a system of elecrosensory apparatus contained in ampullae.  Detection of electrical impulses aid the fish in finding its planktonic prey (individuals to swarms of organisms) as well as in finding its way in turbid or nighttime conditions where visual navigation is difficult.  Paddlefish were once found in but appear to be extirpated from the Great Lakes. They are uncommon in the Ohio River drainage of the State of Ohio but may be increasing with a school of 15 or so recently observed and captured from lower Ohio Brush Creek of Adams County by the Fish Division’s sampling crew.  More information is available for the Paddlefish from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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