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An Order of (Small) Fries

juvenile fish in french fry container labeled 'midwestern fries'

You know a French fry when you see one, but do you know these Midwestern "small fries?" (Find the names of these larval fishes below.)

Even if you live beyond the banks of the mighty Mississippi, the illustrations in A Guide to Larval Fishes of the Upper Mississippi River will help you differentiate tiny catfish from larval sturgeon or juvenile perch.

In addition to its 21 sets of illustrations, this 113-page guide includes a table of species and their associated spawning temperatures and habitat, which could aid your efforts to discern whether larval sunfish are swimming in the same shallows as juvenile pike. The bulk of the guide, co-authored by Leslie Holland-Bartels, Susan Littlejohn, and Mark Huston, identifies distinguishing characteristics of over 60 species of fish at four stages: spawning, egg, larva, and juvenile/adult.

A Guide to Larval Fishes of the Upper Mississippi River was published in 1990 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. We've got a lot of copies left that need good homes! The guide only costs $2 (or 50 cents for orders of ten or more). It was compiled particularly for people who study and manage fishery resources on the Upper Mississippi River, but it is suitable for any fish enthusiast, naturalist, or interested person. To order go to our products order form, and look under the fisheries category.

The successful identification… of larval fishes is a process of elimination. pg. 3, A Guide to Larval Fishes of the Upper Mississippi River

Answers to names of larval fishes from above:
Left to right; sunfish, temperate bass, killifish


By Sea Grant Staff
June 2002

Return to June 2002 Seiche



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