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Mississippian shellfish fish: description and habitat

Mississippian carapace, or alligator pike, is considered one of the largest representatives of freshwater fish. Astonishing by their size, specimens of this animal terrified the locals 100 years ago.

However, despite the awesome view and the huge size of the pike, it is not dangerous for humans, although there are many legends about this monster. Fortunately, not one of them has real documentary evidence, and without facts they are just myths.

Mississippian carapace is one of the largest representatives of freshwater fish.

The ancestors of this magnificent fish appeared on Earth at the beginning of the Cenozoic era, in the second epoch of the Paleogene period – the Eocene, which lasted from about 56 to 33 million years BC. er During these times, many new orders of mammals and fish arose as a result of the dramatic warming of the planet. Therefore, a truly relict fish inhabiting rivers and seas long before human appearance lived to this day.

Currently, Alligator pike lives in the valleys of the Mississippi River and its tributaries in North and Central America, as well as in Canada. It prefers brackish standing and slow-flowing waters, is found even in saline marshlands. This is one of the few freshwater fish that likes to settle in salted waters.

Sometimes representatives of this species can be seen in the Caribbean and around the island of Cuba.

Mississippian carapace is one of the largest freshwater fish; according to expert estimates, its length can reach 3 m with a weight over 130 kg.

She also likes river deltas overgrown with lush vegetation, where the pike is heated in the upper layers of water and absorbs oxygen from the air. Due to the ability of the shell of armor to breathe through the mouth, it does not care about the level of aeration in the reservoir.

The family of carapace includes 7 currently existing species of pike:

  • Mississippi;
  • mexican;
  • Cuban;
  • spotty;
  • long-worn;
  • blunt or short-heeled shell;
  • Florida pike.

The largest representative of them is the Mississippian carapace. Its size reaches 3−4 meters in length with a weight of 160−200 kg.

The body of an alligator fish is covered with very hard, diamond-shaped scales, resembling a shell, which was the source of the origin of its name. In general, this fish very similar to ordinary pike body color and tail, and partly the shape of the head.

Strong jaws of the carapace are equipped with densely-set needle-like teeth.

The Mississippian carapace is often kept in an aquarium, but due to the large size it is necessary to refuse adults, and only a 1000-liter aquarium can reproduce the carapace.

Pike is able to eat a small alligator with its powerful jaws. However, this is only an assumption, in fact, these fish do not prey on crocodiles, preferring small crustaceans and fish.

Although with a lack of food, alligator fish migrate to turtles, crabs and even carrion.

The shellfish is considered to be a very slow predator who loves to hunt alone from an ambush – mainly at night. Although he can eat during the day.

In general, alligator pike is a very voracious predator, despite the fact that it grows relatively slowly. Due to the sluggishness armor shell adapted to use several tactics for successful hunting.

  1. Pike arranges an ambush in the more common algae and reeds. When a potential victim swims relatively close, she makes a sharp jerk and grabs her.
  2. For long time, an armourer, like a log, can stand without moving in the middle layers of the water column, waiting for the prey to approach a short distance.
  3. Juveniles of small size hunt in flocks, lining up in a row and forcing small fish closer to the shore. As soon as they have nowhere to swim, predators pounce on them, eating in half and swallowing.

Pike eats a lot, its stomach is able to accommodate more than 20 kg of fish.

The shellfish is considered a critically endangered species, on the verge of extinction, and the decrease in the number of feeds rather than the commercial catch has an effect on reducing the number of these pikes.

Although, of course, poachers also actively hunt for this fish because of the wonderful taste of its tender meat.

Males reach sexual maturity at the age of six, and females after 10 years. The life span of representatives of this family is noteworthy: females are able to live for 50 years, males are no more than 30. Breeding, representatives of the Carapace family lay off their caviar red or green on the pond flora.

The spawning period lasts from late spring to mid-summer.

The head of the shell over the water resembles an alligator, so sometimes people get scared by confusing it with a dangerous reptile. However, fishermen use this habit to calculate their parking lot.

The shellfish is of great value for sport fishing, as the trophy is very impressive. Fishing, as a sport, involves fishing with the help of gear safe for it – for example, a powerful float fishing rod, baiting in this case can be a success of live bait or pieces of fish.

After several photographs and videotaping, the giant pike is usually released free into the pond.

It feeds mainly on small fish, as well as turtles, crabs and crustaceans, birds and small mammals.

For fishing rods use a large float, a strong steel leash half a meter long and a large triple hook with bait. You can also use spinning with large surface wobblers.

The tackle is lowered on average by a meter depth, as pikes keep closer to the upper layers of water. Waiting for the bite will have patience, the shell of arm does not like to rush and can sit in ambush for several hours.

It is advisable to fish from a boat, so it is more convenient to maneuver.

Carapace pike has a phlegmatic character and doesn’t show aggression when caught, so you can even catch it alone. To pull a large individual out of the water, a lasso is used – the rope is thrown under the gill covers and tightened, so the shell of armor is much easier to drag on board the boat.

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