|Juvenile flier Centrarchus macropterus|
Juvenile fliers have a very distinctive eye spot or ocellus (pictured above) that is quite unique. As adults, their fin configuration is very similar in shape to the crappies, but with very different coloration. Most people don't appreciate the simple beauty of these more "common" fishes, but each are interesting and attractive in their own way. A good example of this is the warmouth. Often lumped together as "sunfish" the members of the Lepomis family may look very similar to each other, but the warmouth has "war paint" around the jaws, given them their name. Also, they usually have a slight purple sheen to them. Sunfishes make excellent display animals as they are hardy and get very accustomed to captivity due to their intelligence.
|Warmouth Lepomis gulosus|
|Pirate perch Aphredoderus sayanus|
The head of the longnose gar has many formidable teeth.
In addition to the small swamp species there are more recognizable large fishes like the longnose gar (above) and bowfin. Most fishermen discard these animals as trash fish, but they have earned their place in the toughest of environments, surviving for nearly 200 million years virtually unchanged. These "living fossils" can gulp surface air when necessary, allowing them to survive in the low oxygen waters of a southern swamp.
There are even more creatures above the water. If you like snakes, this is the place for you. And of course if there are snakes, there are usually frogs - lots of them: green frogs, cricket frogs, tree frogs, bull frogs, leopard frogs. And many species of turtles, even an alligator!
|Painted turtle Chrysemys picta|