Texas Tech University

Fishes of Wisconsin, Halloween Edition: Pirate Perch

UW-Madison Center for Limnology

October 31, 2016

UW-Madison Center for Limnology - Happy Fish Fry Day! Once again fish is on the menu here in Wisconsin and on our mind at the CFL blog. We’ve been working our way through the 13-foot-long “Fishes of Wisconsin” poster to bring you interesting morsels of information for every species of fishes found in Wisconsin. Today’s spooky story is brought to you by the fascinating pirate perch! (Not to be confused with the pirate party poised to take power in Iceland!)

In an ingenious experiment, researchers at Texas Tech University took pirate perch prey, like frogs and aquatic beetles, and plopped them in outdoor, artificial ponds. They then introduced different species of fishes to those ponds, plunking down plastic tubs covered with mesh so that the frogs and beetles couldn't see the fish but could "smell" their various chemical signatures. In every scenario, except for one, the frogs and beetles responded by sensing danger and not laying eggs near these enclosures. That one? Pirate perch, of course! Even though they were sharing the same space as a voracious predator, the frogs and beetles acted as if the pirate perch weren't there at all.

Read the story here.