Photo by Stan Shebs
Hello Explorers! Can you believe we have reached the last week of September? This means this is the last week of Freshwater September. But never fear! We will continue to feature fascinating animals that live in the watery depths. So, what is to be the creature for this final week of Freshwater September? Why, it is the Bowfin!
The bowfin belongs to the class of bony fish, but it is the sole survivor within the order of Amiiformes. 1 This fish is distinguishable by its elongate body, long dorsal fin, and single lobe tail fin (or caudal fin). 2 They also have a rather robust head with a very large mouth, within which lie sharp teeth. 3 The bowfin is a very adaptive fish in that its swim bladder acts as a primitive lung, allowing them to gulp, and consequently breathe, air. 1 This feature allows them to have access to waters that are not highly oxygenated. Bowfins tend to grow to 2.5 feet long (30 inches) and weigh around 8.5 pounds as adults, with males generally being larger than females. 2 However, the record weight of a bowfin is 21 pounds. 2
Bowfins thrive in areas of high vegetation and water clarity, including rivers, lakes, and backwaters. 2 Adults tend to prefer deeper waters, except at night and during breeding season when they come into the shallows. 2 These fish call freshwater habitats in the eastern United States, up into southeastern Canada, their home. 1 The bowfins use the high vegetation to hide themselves when hunting, preferring ambushing or stalking their prey instead of chasing it down. 1 A high percentage of an adult bowfin's diet is fish, though crayfish also tend to be on the menu. 3 Young bowfins prey on small invertebrates such as insects. 3
Read more about this amazing fish at the links below!