Mar 5, 2008

Mississippi Monster

Say hello to the Mississippi Paddlefish, aka Polyodon spathula, Spadefish, Spoonbill Catfish, Duckbill Cat, etc.

Reaching seven feet in length, and a whopping 220 lbs, the paddlefish is one of the largest freshwater fish out there. They are natives of the Mississippi River basin and are cousins to the sturgeon. They are a popular source of meat and caviar.

Those big mouths allow them to feed on their food of choice: zooplankton. Those elaborate snouts are arrayed with sensitive electroreceptors that allow them to locate prey and spawning sites.

I was once swimming in Lake Holiday in Washington state, when a large carp brushed against my leg. It was a terrifying experience for me as a six-year-old. I cannot imagine what my reaction would have been if I had had an encounter with one of these. I never had plans to swim the Mississippi to begin with, but this seals the deal.

Thanks for the paddlefish, Ida.

Photo source: ARKive


Jason said...

Yeah, well, the current in the MS river would kill you before you got a chance to touch any fish!

Rasmus said...

I want one!

amanda said...

That thing's an effing horror show. As I live on the Mississippi River, let me tell you it's unsettling to imagine that thing lurking. I'm gonna move.

Kit said...

As far as freshwater freaks, I wouldn't want to see him, a spoonbill fish, or a gar. If I did, there would be flailing and splashing like it was Jaws (or 4... I can't remember how many bad sequels were made)

Joles said...

Damn, and I thought all I had to worry about was swimming in the ocean with Megamouth Sharks. Now I can add these freshwater guys to my list!!! The water isn't safe anywhere!!!!

Lux said...

It looks pretty pissed off to me.

Quick! Someone lol-ize it with something witty and send it to icanhascheezburger!

Or better yet, that lolscience group on livejournal.