This past weekend R.A.R.E. spent some time with Sarah from the D.E.P. (Department of Environmental Protection) at the ArtsWestchester gallery. She generously gave up her time to host a cool workshop on Saturday.
We participated in having our 11 inch live eel friend pose for us while Sarah talked about Hudson River eels. A young visitor nick named our fish friend, “Slippery”.
Something new I learned about eels; though they may travel 1500 miles one way from the Sargasso Sea to their N.Y. home it turns out they are not the greatest travelers in terms of mileage compared to others. Mainly because they like the Hudson River too much and choose to grow and live here before it’s time to make the journey back!
These two environmental scientists are both heroes of the week for the work they do in studying one of our well travelled Hudson River neighbor: the Eel! A little information about the eel (and I may have mentioned this before but I find it so fascinating); they spawn in the Sargasso Sea where the Bermuda Triangle is located and swim to our estuaries to live. The species is in decline and no one is exactly sure why.
About the eel project: teams of scientists, students, and community volunteers collect the glass eels using net and trap devices on several Hudson River tributaries each spring. The juvenile fish are counted, weighed, and released alive, and other environmental data is recorded. For more information: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/49580.html
*Next week, Saturday August 4th Sarah will be presenting at the ArtsWestchester gallery in White Plains from 1pm – 3pm. She just may be bringing one of our long slippery friends!
The blue crab’s Latin name, Callinectes sapidus, means “beautiful savory swimmer”. The blue crab is one of the largest crustaceans. It has five pairs of legs. The first pair are claws modified for eating and defense and the last pair are modified for use as swimming paddles.
Blue crabs overwinter in high salinity waters near the mouths of major freshwater inputs and bays. As water temperature warms and salinity increases, crabs move upstream into freshwater to mate. After mating occurs, female crabs return to higher salinity waters to release their eggs. The Hudson River has a robust blue crab population
Take a wild snapshot on a guided tour at Constitution Marsh with Eric Lind. Constitution Marsh is a 270-acre tidal marsh located opposite West Point. The marsh is home to more than 100 bird species, over 40 fish and countless other creatures. The marsh developed approximately 5,000 years ago.
Address: 127 Warren’s Landing Rd., Garrison, NY 10524. Website: http://www. constitutionmarsh.org/
In spring, the local male stickleback can be seen building a nest made of twigs, plant debris and mucus. Once complete, he flashes his bright red belly and vibrates his blue-green tail in hopes of attracting a female. To complete the dance he presents to her his home-made nest. If interested she may enter to lay her eggs. This process may occur more then once with other females. Her role complete, she is chased out by the male who swims through the nest to fertilize the eggs. He then stands guard, occasionally fanning the oxygen filled water with his fins. When hatched, for the first few days of their lives, the father defends them. He goes as far as gathering the little wanderers in his mouth and spits them back into their nursery until they are ready to be off on their own.
*sketch by Borren Hui
Test your knowledge and guess which beautiful fish goes with which fish fact?
1.The Tautog is a popular inshore gamefish that lives along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. Although capable of reaching relatively large sizes, they are very slow- growing
2. The American Shad is an anadromous fish, spending its adult life at sea and returning to fresh water rivers to spawn. They are primarily plankton feeders, but will eat small shrimp and fish eggs.
3. The Black Sea Bass is anadromous but does not spawn in Long Island Sound tributaries. They are popular sport fish that appear in the Sound in the summer, feeding on squid and finfish.
Out of a large red ice box, Chris Letts from the Hudson River Foundation pulls out a cat fish (also known as bull heads) caught on the Hudson River by a fishermen. His young audience sits at picnic tables at Croton Point Park, mouths agape just as the fish is, some let out a gasp of fascination and delight. Mr Letts points to the tail and spreads it out, explaining how the cat fish has a slightly dipped, wide tail which basically is a sign of a slow, strong swimmer. He moves on to the “whiskers” which he mentions are called barbells. They act like sensory tongues outside of the mouth that detect food.
“For protection”, Mr Letts pulls on the dorsal fin on the back, “they have serrated spines they can lock into position”. A child whispers out loud, “Cool…”
An excited student yells out, “I will pay you for the fish so I can take it home so my mom can cook it.” Mr Letts smiles mentioning the fish is for study and not for sale.
The common name “shadbush” was coined because the species’ flowering often coincides with the time of the upriver migration of the shad fish. This species is also called the common serviceberry, a name derived from the Sarvis tree.
Moon jellies turn the color of the food they eat. Pink jellies eat mostly crustaceans, while orange jellies have been dining on brine shrimp. They can be found in warm and temperate coastal waters; mainly along the estuaries during the summer months. They are enjoyed by sea turtles, large fish and marine birds. This brings up the major problem of plastic bags looking a lot like jellies.
Shad; the largest of New York’s herring and at one time the most important commercial fish in the Hudson River. The Hudson was known as one of the most productive rivers of shad in North America. It’s latin name means “most delicious”. They are anadromous – born in freshwater, but live in the ocean and return to the river of origin to spawn. Today, their numbers are at he lowest point ever.