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You don't see that everyday!
Midwest Region, March 12, 2009
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Chris McLeland (Columbia NFWCO) with an albino blue catfish captured in the Missouri River in March 2009.
Chris McLeland (Columbia NFWCO) with an albino blue catfish captured in the Missouri River in March 2009. - Photo Credit: n/a
A northern hogsucker captured in the Missouri River during March 2009.
A northern hogsucker captured in the Missouri River during March 2009. - Photo Credit: n/a

During a warm, windy day in March, Columbia NFWCO’s Andy Plauck, Cliff Wilson and Chris McLeland were pulling gillnets in search of the federally endangered pallid sturgeon on the Missouri River near Herman, MO. Two interesting fish caught the attention of the crew that day. An albinistic blue catfish came out of the first net. Albino fish lack skin pigments, which leads to a ghostly white animal with a pink tint. Most albinos become prey and don’t survive to adulthood. It is likely that the muddy waters of the Missouri River gave this fish a better chance of survival. Our crews have sampled a few of these fish on the Missouri River but this one was the largest (around 6 pounds). According to our catch records this variation of blue catfish is more rare than the pallid sturgeon.

 

The second attention grabbing fish is not a rare fish in nature, we just don’t catch them on the Missouri River. The northern hogsucker, with it’s block shaped head and mottled coloration, usually inhabits small to medium streams with clear water. The northern hogsucker we captured must have strayed from a small nearby tributary. In the winter, the water in the Missouri River becomes much clearer, resembling some of clear-water tributaries that drain the Ozark plateau. This is the only time of the year we catch fish like shorthead redhorse and white sucker. Catching fish that you don’t see everyday is always something memorable, in this case we were able to get two in one day. Monitoring native fish, whether rare or common, is an important part of conserving America’s fisheries.


Contact Info: Andrew Plauck, 573-234-2132 ext 175, Andrew_Plauck@fws.gov



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