HERE.I was indeed fortunate to accompany Mac Albin of Franklin County Metroparks, Anthony Sasson of the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and John Tetzloff of the Darby Creek Association. No one knows the fishes of Big and Little Darby creeks like these guys do.
We caught lots of fish, all of which were released back into the waters. We were "fish-watching"; temporarily detaining some of the stream's more colorful denizens so we could study them, and take photos. A pair of brilliant rainbow darters pose in the photo above.
Like many stream fish, stonerollers make a nest. The male hollows out a spawning pit near a riffle, and vigorously defends it from other males. An interested female will slink in and deposit her eggs within the spawning pit. In the case of the stoneroller, the male will abandon the nest prior to the eggs hatching, but some species of fish guard their nests right up to the point that the fry emerge.
A healthy stream bottom is its own little world, but one that is out of sight and largely out of mind.
In the case of the stoneroller, it would make sense that it would evolve an ability to shift its eyes downward, the better to see potential foodstuff on the rocks below.
Thanks again to Mac, Anthony, and John for an excellent field trip. I hope to do more of these aquatic forays in the future. Kudos too to their respective organizations for all of the work that they do to protect Big and Little Darby Creek. These streams are among the highest quality waterways in the Midwest, and it is imperative that they remain so. Most Ohio streams have not fared nearly as well, and as a result, even common fishes such as those that I've shared in these posts are not nearly as common as they once were.