Guest Post: Adventures with Bowfin, North America’s Underdog(fish)

The folks at the Nature Conservancy’s “Cool Green Science” blog have invited our postdoc, Solomon David, to write about primitive fishes for them – here’s his latest post:
It’s a fish that lived alongside dinosaurs, and held its own: A slimy and voracious creature with a mouth full of sharp teeth.
And you don’t have to wait for Jurassic Park to see one: the bowfin is still among us. It has proven tougher than T. rex. But is it tough enough to survive humanity?
I recall well my first encounter: pulling that bizarre fish with the long dorsal fin into a boat, as part of fish surveys I was conducting on Michigan’s Muskegon River. I’d read about these fish before in class, but had never seen one alive.
I just had to get a better look at this fish. And that was the beginning of my fascination with this incredible, but often under appreciated, animal.
Mudfish, dogfish, grinnel, swamp-muskie: the names alone suggest why bowfin (Amia calva) are generally not the most highly-revered among fishes.
With their prehistoric appearance and tenacious attitude, one may say they deserve their poor reputation. But the bowfin is in reality a fascinating, resilient, and even beneficial species. Keep reading over at “Cool Green Science” –>