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Native Fishes of Ohio

Daniel L. Rice, Gary Meszaros

Publication Year: 2014

Ohio’s original heavily forested landscape included glacial lakes, large rivers, and streams that teemed with an abundant variety of fish, most of which remain resident today. Native Fishes of Ohio documents the more than 130 species originally found in the state and describes how their aquatic habitats have evolved as a result of agriculture and industrial development.

Naturalist Dan Rice and photographer Gary Meszaros draw upon more than 40 years of fieldwork and recent hands-on experience to detail the natural history of each species of Ohio fish. The authors provide field identification characteristics and describe each fish’s habitat, ecology, and distribution. The book is profusely illustrated with Gary Meszaros’s spectacular color photographs of live specimens in their natural environment, a resource unique to this volume. The range of shapes and vivid colors will give the reader insight into the fascinating world of the state’s native fishes.

An ideal resource for the nonspecialist, Native Fishes of Ohio will interest nature lovers, teachers, and anglers and is a must for every Ohio school and public library.

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Title page, Copyright

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pp. vii-xii

The purpose of this book is to provide those people who are interested in natural history with a source of information about the amazing diversity of fishes that can be found in the rivers and streams of Ohio and to increase their awareness and appreciation of our aquatic heritage. Numbering...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Many people have contributed their time and expertise to this project. Gary Meszaros would like to thank Tim Matson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for introducing him to the fishes of northeast Ohio. Dan Rice spent many memorable hours with George Phinney of Otterbein...

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1. Lampreys: Living Fossils

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pp. 1-6

The first primitive vertebrates that swam in our oceans were jawless fishes. Over millions of years, fish with movable jaws began to appear. This evolutionary advancement enabled these early species to capture and hold prey. Today, all that remains of the jawless fish are the hagfishes and...

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2. Paddlefish, Sturgeon, Gars, and More: Primitive and Unique Species

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pp. 7-15

Within Ohio waters swim relict fish that were present when Tyrannosaurus rex was making life undesirable for other terrestrial forms of life. Indeed, they have changed little from their predecessors and are sometimes referred to as living fossils. Included in this group are the

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3. Minnows, Chubs, and Dace: Life in a Linear Environment

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pp. 16-30

Cyprinids make up the largest family of freshwater fish in the world with more than two thousand species grouped into more than two hundred genera. North America is home to about three hundred species and fifty genera. They are distinguished by the absence of a stomach, lack of teeth, and...

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4. Shiners: Exploiting a Niche

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pp. 31-43

Have you ever looked down into a stream on a sunny afternoon and observed a silver flash like a mirror reflecting light? Closer examination will likely reveal a school of small fish moving over the rocky bottom. You are most likely looking at a school of shiners, a diverse group of relatively...

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5. Suckers: Swimming against the Current

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pp. 44-52

Suckers are among the most maligned freshwater fish in North America. Anglers often refer to these as “rough” fish; subterminal mouths coupled with intramuscular bones make them difficult to catch and eat. Nonetheless, suckers are important to healthy stream ecosystems. Many species are...

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6. Catfish: Night Stalkers

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pp. 53-59

Ictaluridae is one of the largest families of freshwater fish found in North America, with about fifty species among seven genera. Four genera represent the eastern United States: Ictalurus (channel, or fork-tailed, catfish), Ameiurus (bullheads), Pylodictis (flathead catfish), and Noturus (madtoms)...

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7. Sticklebacks, Mudminnows, Pirate Perch, and Others: Life in Small Places

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pp. 60-68

Fish can be found in many different places: rivers, ponds, or creeks, for example. There are, however, other habitats, smaller, isolated, less obvious ones. These include springs and roadside ditches that are sometimes only a few inches deep. These small places might contain a number of unusual...

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8. Sunfish and Bass: Metallic Iridescence

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pp. 69-77

Almost all of Ohio’s native basses, crappies, and sunfish belong to the Family Centrarchidae, which has over thirty North American freshwater species. They are, with one exception, native to eastern North America, extending west as far as the Rocky Mountains. Their main center of distribution...

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9. Darters: A Rainbow of Colors

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pp. 78-91

Darters are among the most colorful, fascinating, and highly complex group of North American freshwater fishes. They tend to be small, two to four inches in length. The source of their name is apparent to anyone who has ever waded in a clear stream and observed the various life...

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10. Fish of Lentic Habitats: Lake Erie

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pp. 92-99

Asmall number of Ohio’s species are found only in Lake Erie. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several of these—burbot, cisco, and whitefish—were part of a thriving lake fishery. Still others—like walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch, and white bass—are...

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11. Aliens: Introduced Species

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pp. 100-106

Fish are constantly looking for new places to live. Alien species are deliberately or accidentally introduced into habitats far removed from their places of origin. These introductions can have disastrous consequences for native fish populations. Of all the nonnative fish found in Ohio, the European...


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pp. 107-108


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pp. 109-110


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pp. 111-113

E-ISBN-13: 9781612778761
E-ISBN-10: 1612778763
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606352083

Page Count: 128
Publication Year: 2014