Re: NANFA-- Collecting Saturday, May 4th - aka: Gators are out!

Roselawn Museum (
Mon, 06 May 2002 14:34:07 -0400

Nice report, Chip!

Y'all be careful over there. You might try trolling a small dog or cat
behind you to draw off the gators. (-:

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA

At 02:09 PM 5/6/02 -0400, you wrote:
> Dustin Smith and I went out Saturday, May 4th, to do some collecting for
Riverbanks Zoological Park's Elassoma breeding program. . We left my
house,in West Columbia, around 8:30am and headed toward Jasper County, in
the southernmost corner of SC. As we left, the temp was around 50 degrees.
We had rain most of the way down I-26 but it tapered off about the same
time we got on I-95. It gradually cleared as we got closer to Hardeville.
We first stopped at Great swamp, on Hwy 17, about 6.8 miles north of
Hardeville. Temp was around 70. This was a small fairly shallow roadside
ditch. Here, we got the following:
>Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma okatie
>Least Killifish - Heterandria formosa
>Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki
>Swampfish - Chologaster cornuta
>Pirate Pearch - Aphedoderus sayanus
>Redfin Pickerel - Esox americanus
>The 2 Swampfish were very small (probably born this year).
> After we left this spot we headed on to Bahama swamp. As we waded out
into the weeds we couldn't find any Pygmy sunfish, Golden Topminnows or
Bluespotted sunfish like we had on previous visits to this spot. At this
spot I found a melanistic male Gambusia with lots of black mottling over
what appears to be a blue background. A man walked up, on the bridge and
told us that he see's a gator in there almost daily and that we should
watch out because it was a big one, around 10-12 ft. I told Dustin "I
ain't doing any seining here!" He didn't argue to much and we agreed that
we should stay close to each other and keep a close eye for anything
resembling a gator. We continued dipnetting, finding many Heterandria and
Gambusia, and finally found about four okatie back under the railroad
trestle there. We had not seen any signs of a gator and were finally
getting a little relaxed. At that time, while about hip-deep in the water
and vegetation, we saw the gator...about ten feet lo
> ng, out in the water right in the spot where we would have been seining,
not more than 40 ft from us. Needless to say, we slowly backed away and
left shortly after this. This is a list of what we found here:
>Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie
>Banded Pygmy Sunfish - E.zonatum
>Least Killifish - H.formosa
>Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
>Pirate Pearch - A.sayanus
>Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
>Swampfish - Chologaster cornuta(another small juv.)
>Mud Sunfish - Acanthus pomotis (about 1 1/2")
>Eastern Mudminnow - Umbra pygmaea
> After the excitement we decided to explore a little so we hit a dirt road
(SSR 169) and sampled a little in ditches where the road crossed a canal.
We also saw a small gator (around 4') on the canal bank and a comarant.
This is what we found here:
>Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie
>Least Killifish - H.formosa
>Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
>Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
>Eastern Mudminnow - Umbra pygmaea
>Flier - Centrarchus macropterus
> We visited one more spot. It was in the roadside ditches on Hwy 321 along
the same canal. We saw another small gator, and heard what we think was two
others here. This is what we found:
>Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish - E.okatie
>Least Killifish - H.formosa
>Eastern Mosquitofish - G.holbrooki
>Enneacanthus spp. (juv.)
>Golden Topminnow - Fundulus chrysotus
>Bowfin - Amia calva (Juv.)
>Flier - Centrarchus macropterus
> I was excited about the bowfin. I had been wanting one and had not found
any so far. We finished up here. The temp was around 85-90 with sunny
skies. We headed back to Columbia on 321. As we neared Orangeburg we hit
the rain again and the temp dropped to the middle 50's. We're going back
out on
>Wednesday to get some more stuff for the zoo. Hopefully we can get some
Elassoma boehlkei for the breeding program and Enneacanthus chaetodon for
them to put on display. I'm also going Friday with a guy from the DNR who
is sampling in the Congaree Swamp National Park. We're gonna be visiting a
>called the "Dead River Gut". Sounds kinda spooky/interesting. Will post
updates on these trips later in the week.
>Chip Rinehart
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