NANFA-L-- Merry misadventures

Mysteryman (
Thu, 31 Mar 2005 10:49:20 -0800

I had to go to a clinic in Ozark, Alabama for some overnight testing,
and I thought it would make for a good opportunity to again quest for
some Orangetail Shiners, Pteronotropis merlini, since the type location
is near that city.
We've been experiencing a lot of very heavy rain this week, so
conditions were far from ideal. All the water had turned to something
looking akin to the chocolate river from the Willie Wonka movie, and I
couldn't see a thing. Naturally, everything was as muddy as possibly
imaginable, so even getting TO the water was a challenge. I pressed on,
though, drgging my shinerscoop time and agin to come up with nothing
time and again. Well, I take that back: I did bring up some nymphs, big
bullfrog pollywogs, some crayfish, and a Pseudemys scripta turtle! I
even discovered that a shinerscoop is good for dredging up mussels.

No fish, though, after nearly an hour of searching. When I finally
managed to bag a Gambusia, I was actually happy to see it. How sad is

Working my way home, I found a drainage pool on the side of the road. It
positively SCREAMED Pteronotropis, being a textbook perfect spot for
them. I had a quick look, and found this little 10-foot square area
teeming with fish. YAY! I went and got my bucket and the shinerscoop.
As I approached, I found that the area was very slippery, and I found
that I was slipping. not wanting to plunge into the deep water, I made a
daring leap to a nearby sandbar. I made it with style and grace.
Too bad it was a QUICKsand bar.
In one second flat I was hip deep and sinking. I laid on my side the
instant I hit the sand, and wound up laying in it. When I got out, well,
I was completely covered in muck on one side, while nearly completely
clean on the other. It made an odd spectacle, and passersby gave me
quizzical looks.

Back to business, I filled my bucket and tossed the net. This pool was
slam-full of fish, and every throw of the net brought in specimens. In
ten throws I had 17 fish of 7 different species! These were:

Blacktip Shiner - Lythrurus atrapiculus
Golden Shiner
Weed Shiner - Notropis texanum
Blacktail Redhorse- Moxosoma poecilurum
Speckled Madtom - Noturus leptacanthus

and 2 other shiners I can't yet identify. One looks like a Bluestripe
Shiner, Cyprinella callitaenia, in that it has the blue/green stripe
with the gold stripe above it, but it is a very deep-bodied fish, and
this site is 40 miles from where the nearest Bluestripes are supposed to
be. Any ideas?
The other mystery shiner looks somewhat like a Lythrurus to me, but it's
huge, being nearly 6 inches long. It somewhat resembles a tropical
Tinfoil Barb, having very shiny silver scales and bright, vividly
scarlet fins. Of course, it's more torpedo-shaped. It was a showy,
handsome fish.

That was it for fish. I never found anything else all morning. Even my
trusty sailfin/weed/ironcolor hole was completely empty. Heck, even a
place I know normally full of little Green Sunfish was desolate.

I did find some nifty plants. One is a arum-like plant with 5-6 flower
spikes. These spikes are about a foot tall, about an inch in diameter,
tapered to a point, and covered with bright, tiny, closely-packed
saffron/lemon yellow flowers. i tried to collect some, but they are very
spongy and couldn't be picked. I'll need a shovel to get some of those,
and I DO want some; they are QUITE attractive. The next plant is a small
bottom-covering species. It is a peculiar shade of freakishly bright
green, and seems to prefer growing near the water's edge, where it can
either grow emersed or get lots of light. I'm not sure which yet. I have
only seen this plant once, ever, and after some searching I have found
that it is called "Baby's Tears." Unfortunately, that's all I can find
out about it in books, so I'll have to sift through the web for whatever
info can be had.

Raining again.
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