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submitted by Roxanne Burnette

Bowfin

The bowfin is one of the many freshwater fish species that can be found living in the ponds of Palmetto Island State Park. More commonly know as Choupique (pronounced Shoe-Pick) here in Vermilion Parish, are often referred to as "primitive fishes" or "living fossils". They date back to the Jurassic Period and have survived for all those years. The bowfin is a sharp-toothed predator that has the capacity to breathe both air and water allowing it to survive oxygen-poor environments. It is a bony fish that is related to a gar fish. They tend to eat other fish, crawfish, insects, amphibians and crustaceans. The eggs of the bowfin is said to be a first class caviar by any standard and can be hard to get because the bowfin is an endangered species.  According to the LA Wildlife and Fisheries, there is no limit on how many you can catch but they cannot be under 16 inches to keep. These fish are difficult to clean and most people don't care for the way they taste. The filets have a "cottony" texture to them so most people boil the fish, remove the meat from the bone and combine it with potatoes and spices. The mixture is then shaped into balls or patties and floured and fried into something good. 

Bryozoan Colony - Pectinatella magnifica

If you are swimming and bump into what looks like a brain from Saturn don’t get freaked out because it is just a harmless bryozoan colony. Freshwater bryozoans live in colonies which can get as big as a basketball. A new colony will start from larva or from statoblasts which are like seeds. Bryozoans are water animals so that means they eat and digest tiny animals like plankton by filtering them out of the water. Each bryozoan is about 1 mm long. They are often found attached to objects, but can be found free floating as well. They form a translucent body with many star-like blooms along the outside. The density of the organism is similar to that of gelatin, and is easily breakable into smaller chunks. This group was found on the edge of the water at the board walk. 

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