NANFA-- Re: Sand Mountain, the novel

Bruce Stallsmith (
Wed, 04 Oct 2000 22:40:48 EDT

I didn't expect to find them to the west of Sand Mountain, it's more like
the full realization is sinking in on me that Sand Mountain itself is a
no-go for many species of fish rather than a mere dividing line. For those
of you unfamiliar with it, Sand Mountain is a long, narrow steep-sided
plateau that begins near Lookout Mountain in S.E. Tennessee and runs in a
straight line to the southwest, aimed straight at Birmingham. It functions
as a pretty solid barrier between the Tennessee River drainage to its north
and west, and various parts of the Mobile Bay drainage to its south and
east. With two of the studfish (Fundulus catenatus and F. stellifer) it
separates their ranges so that the ranges don't even come close to
overlapping, except further north at the GA/TN/AL intersection (if I
remember correctly...). This same separation can be found in a variety of
fish groups, contributing to the species diversity of the region. This is
part of my fascination with this region's biogeography, that closely
neighboring drainages can be so thoroughly isolated with similar but
different species compositions because of ancient geology.

The Holy Grail of this kind of thing, of course, would be to find a
population of either Fundulus albolineatus (extinct) or F. julisia (under
duress). They're in the same subgenus as the studfishes, Xenisma. Unlikely,

--Bruce Stallsmith

>Bruce I would be very surprised to find stellifer in the tennessee drainage
>except as an exotic and if I remember correctly the west side of Sand
>Mountain drains into the Tennessee. a river I still marvel at inspite of
>the dams on it.

I think I too enthusiastically net fish sometimes; the largest one is fine,
along with a juvenile and the darter and stellifer. Hopefully we can
rendezvous for some kind of trip in the not-too-distant future!

>Also, Bruce while I'm at it it would be great if we could actually collect
>together sometime, and you could share your New England and Alabama stories
>with me and I can show you how to get fish home alive ... maybe next summer
>when you are here in Ohio. Thats tough luck on the rainbows, but they
>really havent proven to be a delicate fish for me.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

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