Site #9: Wilderness Park, Hillsborough River at FL 579, NE of Tampa

Wilderness Park was a wonderful nature area with boardwalk trails along and over the blackwater, which formed wide marshes off a narrow, winding waterway. Many plecos were found either dead or dying near the shore, along with the live ones collected. Several visitors were heard to say, "Where are the gators? There are always gators here." Once again, no gators were seen.

The temperature rapidly improved allowing most of the group to shed layers of extra clothing as the sun broke through and blue sky returned to view. About half of the FL guys departed after that location, one that yielded at least 21 species including:
Pickerel, juvenile (Esox sp.)
Seminole killifish (Fundulus seminolis)
Marsh killifish (F. confluentus)
Golden topminnow (F. chrysotus)
Bluefin killifish (L. goodei)
Sailfin molly (P. latipinna)
Least killifish (H. formosa)
E. mosquitofish (G. holbrooki)
Taillight shiner (N. maculatus)
Coastal shiner (N. petersoni)
Ironcolor shiner (N. chalybaeus)
Shiner (sp. aff. N. crysoleucas)
Brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus)
banded pygmy sunfish (E. zonatum)
Warmouth (L. gulosus)
Bluegill (L. macrochirus)
Spotted sunfish (L. punctatus)
Swamp darter (E. fusiforme)
Bluespotted sunfish (E. gloriosus)
Dollar sunfish (L. marginatus)
Sailfin catfish (Pterygoplichthys sp.)
Wilderness Park on the Hillsborough River

At Wilderness Park, L-R - (Front) Brian Skidmore (Tampa, FL), Bill, Andrew Shields (Tampa, FL), & Doug Dame (Interlachen, FL); Carolina boys in the background

At Wilderness Park, the young guys working among the cypress knees. L-R Andrew, & Ben Klein (Tampa, FL)

Mike Jacobs' hair (St. Petersburg, FL) still bore the marks of the recent Buc's win in the Super Bowl.

Bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei)
Seminole killifish (Fundulus seminolis)
This sailfin catfish (Pterygoplichthys sp.) was one of several exotics found on the trip.
banded pygmy sunfish (Elassoma

Not everyone chose to collect. Sig Klein (Tampa, FL), Ben's dad, opted for a chair in the shade.
Also, at this site, someone wondered what the unusual soft structure were inside of this mussel. The answer came after the trip from Arthur Bogan of the NC State Museum of Natural Sciences (via Fritz): "The swollen things are the gravid marsupia in the outer gills. the marsupia hold the fertilized eggs, developing embryos and the mature glochidia. This was a Villosa?"

Dustin and a number of others were interested in a couple of creeks that flowed past tropical fish farms, reported to contain exotics. So, a scaled-down caravan took off to find them.