NANFA-- blue pike

Nicholas J. Zarlinga (
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 22:26:06 -0500

Bruce, any idea why the smelt were booming in the 50's? If the lake really
is reverting back to healthy conditions, then does that mean that the smelt
should be declining, therefore making it more "hospitable" for blue pike?
Furthermore, many public aquariums feed frozen smelt to thier collections
with no discernable effects of vitamin e definiency and have good longevity
records. Sounds a bit unlikely that wild fish, which probably did not feed
exclusively on the smelt, would decline for such a reason-unless it affects

Nick Zarlinga
Aquarium Biologist
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
216-661-6500 ex 4485

"Fish worship... is it wrong??" (Ray Troll)

original message

Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 10:23:23 -0500
From: "Bruce Stallsmith" <>
Subject: Re: NANFA-- Blue Pike news

Reading this account about blue pike vs. yellow pike, I've developed
doubts about whether the blue pike is really a species. Dr. King below says
the blue pike "was fished out before it had a chance to evolve". Huh?!? It
sounds like the "blue" pike was a fixed morph in a complex of populations
that probably interbred. Maybe there's something to the theory that
thiaminase in smelt was/is destructive of B1 vitamins in some of these
pikes, and they've been selected against in the last 50 years. If true,
if you find believable "blue" pikes and breed a bunch of them, if you put
them back in the Great Lakes the same thing will happen again since there
are still smelt in the Lakes.

Am I missing something here?

- --Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

>From all accounts, the blue pike was distinct in both appearance and
>habitat from its cousin the yellow pike. However, King said, it is
>that the blue pike, while evolving as a separate species, did not have
>enough time to develop a clearly different DNA.
>"It was fished out before it had a chance to evolve," he speculated.
>King said there were no fish in the lakes at the end of the last Ice Age
>10,000 to 12,000 years ago. If blue pike were a separate species that
>evolved from yellow pike, even 10,000 years might not have been enough
>time for blues to develop a radically distinctive DNA, he reasoned.

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