Andrew and I made it out to a site on Cypress Creek yesterday. As we drove out the rainclouds parted and we had a sunny summer day by the end. Our primary goal was to catch some highland shiners, Notropis micropteryx
, for gill fluke examination by Don Cloutman at Bemidji State as part of an on-going project. I had noticed highlands at this site three years ago while looking for flame chubs. And I remembered correctly, we were able to catch five. The rap on highland shiners is that they usually exist in large schools in flowing water over sand or gravel. We certainly didn't find large schools of them. Here's a photo looking downstream into the riffle/scour hole/flowing pool system we caught them in:
The highlands, along with warpaint shiners (Luxilus coccogenis
) and blenny darters (Etheostoma blennius
), were in this stretch of water especially along the undercut left bank where the water is deeper and faster than you'd think over shifting coarse gravel. We also removed a few beer bottles and cans that the local numbnuts high schoolers thoughtfully left behind (if you drink Natural Light beer I urge you to end it now; really).
We also found big
steelcolor shiners (Cyprinella whipplei
) in this system, and an unbelievable number of large, beautiful northern studfish (Fundulus catenatus
). We brought home a pair of big studfish for the orange spotted sunfish tank. We thought we had found popeye shiners (Notropis ariommus
) but looking at them today I think that they're telescope shiners (N. telescopus
). But that's cool, this is one of the few streams in Alabama besides the upper Paint Rock system that has telescopes. And I swear they look different from the Paint Rock telescopes, but I'll have to quantify that later. I put six of the apparent telescopes in ethanol, and another eight or so with our other keepers in phosphate-buffered formaldehyde.
Here's me with my truck before we left. My camera is acting weird, turning whites to pink, so I'm really not standing under an airburst atomic test.