Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Freshwater Cod in the Connecticut River ?

Burbot (fish)

This past weekend I was in Hartford, Connecticut, where I had the chance to visit the beautiful Rose garden at Elizabeth Park and to survey the broad, silvery waters of the Connecticut River as it moved along its forested banks. Whenever I am near large bodies of water, especially those which seem particularly broad or deep, I can;t help but imagine what might be happening below the surface, where depth and silt prevent us from seeing easily the activtities of the fish, reptiles and amphibains which rely on rivers and their watersheds for the resrouces they need to survive and thirve.

While I saw several different species of birds at the river,my visit also reminded me of shad fishing when I was younger and evoked this deeper sense of mystery and curiosity which dark waters always seem to conjure for me. As I thought about the river this evening I decided to do a little research to find out more about the Connecticut River watershed and some of the fish that call the river home for all or part of their lives. It was while doing some research online about the Connecticut River fishery that I came across a description of a very interesting fish that I had not previously heard of, called the "burbot," on a webpage maintained by Alan Richmond of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. On this website, Dr. Richmond notes of this fish in the Massachusetts section of the river that:

"This is the only freshwater member of the Cod fish family. This is a northern, cold water species that is circumpolar in distribution. This fish was probably never very common in Massachusetts. Little is known about the status of this species in Massachusetts other than it is listed and a species of special concern. "

Since I didn't have my own photo of a Burbot, and I believe strongly in protecting intellectually property and copyrights, I searched online for a free image and found the line drawing above available for free.

Of course this river is home to many other species as well, including the aforementioned Shad, which was once an important food source for people living along the river.The US Fish and Wildlife Service Connecticut River Coordinators Office has put together a great site with interesting information which is certainly worth visiting. Here visitors can learn about status and life history of this fish.
There is much more to say about this great river and the creatures that call it home - please keep an eye out and check back soon for another upcoming post, in which I will delve a little more deeply into the waters of the Connecticut River.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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