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The Northern Pike

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The Northern Pike

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:13 pm

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Northern Pike
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Image of animal


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General Information;

Type: Fish
Diet: Carnivore
Size: 150 centimetres (59 in)
Weight: 25 kilograms (55 lb)
Conservation status:

Scientific Classification:
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Not applicable
Northern Pike Range


The northern pike (Esox lucius, known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, most parts of the USA, or as jackfish in Canada or simply "Northern" in the Upper Midwest of the USA), is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution).
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Physical Features;
Northern pike are most often olive green, shading from yellow to white along the belly. The flank is marked with short, light bar-like spots and there are a few to many dark spots on the fins. Sometimes the fins are reddish. Younger pike have yellow stripes along a green body, later the stripes divide into light spots and the body turns from green to olive green. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and they have large sensory pores on their head and on the underside of the lower jaw which are part of the lateral line system. Unlike the similar-looking and closely related muskellunge, the northern pike has light markings on a dark body background and fewer than six sensory pores on the underside of each side of the lower jaw. Pike grow to a relatively large size; lengths of 150 centimetres (59 in) and weights of 25 kilograms (55 lb) are not unheard of. The heaviest specimen known so far was caught in an abandoned stone quarry, in Germany, in 1983. She (the majority of all pikes over 8 kg or 18 lb are females) was 147 cm (58 in) long and weighed 31 kg (68 lb).
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Mental Features;
Northern pike are a predatory fish. They feed primarily on other fish, and are known to eat frogs, mice, young muskrats and ducklings. Pike are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike.Pike do not swim in schools, but they do group together in prime weedy areas. Where one fish is sighted, there will likely be others in the same vicinity. Most pike are found in five to twenty feet of water, at the edges of dense weed beds, especially weed beds near sharp drop offs.
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Diet;
The young free swimming pike feed on small invertebrates starting with daphnia, and quickly moving on to bigger prey like isopods like asellus or gammarus. When the body length is 4 to 8 cm they start feeding on small fish. The fish has a distinctive habit of catching its prey sideways in the mouth, immobilising it with its sharp backward pointing teeth, and then turning the prey headfirst to swallow it. It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. Young pike have been found dead from choking on a pike of a similar size, an observation referred to by the renowned English poet Ted Hughes in his famous poem 'Pike'. Northern pike also feed on frogs, insects and leeches. They are not very particular and eat spiny fish like perch and will even take sticklebacks if that is the only available prey.
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Habitat;
Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. Pike are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike. In short, they will inhabit any water body that contains fish, but suitable places for spawning are essential for their numbers. Because of their cannibalistic nature, young pike need places where they can take shelter between plants so they are not eaten. In both cases it comes down to a rich submersible vegetation nearby. Pikes are seldom found in brackish water, except for the Baltic Sea area. Pike are known to prefer water with less turbidity but that is probably related to their dependence on the presence of submersible vegetation and not to their being a sight hunter.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/msn678/2651287453/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Pike
http://www.marksmarineinc.com/fishing/fish_northern.aspx
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