Re: NANFA-L-- chemical defenses -- madtoms and others

Christopher Scharpf (
Tue, 15 Feb 2005 19:41:21 -0400

> ASIH used to publish a jocular piece called _Dopeia_ in connection with the
> annual meeting. In one of the originals in the 1950's Archie Carr (of sea
> turtle fame) published a "Key to the Freshwater Fishes of Florida" that
> included a wide range of odd characters for species recognition. The section
> that keyed the catfishes used the intensity of pain suffered by persons who
> were stung by catfish. So, to key out a specimen, one would pierce the thumb
> with the pectoral spine, and note the pain intensity. Then compare that to
> the descriptions in the key. I haven't seen the thing in many years, so I
> cannot recall some of the pain descriptors. But I remember laughing about it
>-in-the time I saw it.
> Copies of _Dopeia_ go for a pretty good price from collectors of such
> material.

The Dopeia key is reprinted in full in a collection of Carr's writings, "A
Naturalist in Florida: A Celebration of Eden."

My favorite line: describing the eel as "somewhat eel-like".

Chris Scharpf

/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
/ To subscribe,
/ unsubscribe, or get help, visit the NANFA email list home page and
/ archive-in-