Saltwater fish species frequently appear on the pages of the Bay Journal. Here’s a quiz on their freshwater cousins who live in the watershed’s rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. Match up the species with its description.

1. Bluegill

2. Brook Trout

3. Creek Chub

4. Fantail Darter

5. Least Brook Lamprey

6. Pumpkinseed

7. Satinfin Shiner

8. Tadpole Madtom

9. Walleye

10. Yellow Bullhead

A. The largest member of the perch family in North America, this fish grows up to 3 feet 5 inches long and weighs 25 pounds. It lives in the clear water of deep rivers, lakes or reservoirs. Its large size and reputation as a fighter make it a popular sport fish.

B. This member of the sunfish family has a greenish body and is mottled with orange and blue-green. It has a bright orange or red spot with a light rim on its black ear flap. It lives in densely vegetated lakes and ponds as well as quiet, vegetated pools of streams and creeks. Because it is aggressive and not very choosy about bait, this fish is often caught by beginning anglers.

C. This member of the catfish family is found in slow streams and ponds and lakes with vegetation over mud. It can grow up to 5 inches long. It can inflict a painful sting with its pectoral fin spine, which has a venom gland at its base. This secretive fish is known to hide in empty bottles or cans.

D. This fish is also called a squaretail or speck. It is usually found in cool, clear, freshwater streams as well as tidal streams. The freshwater species is yellow to reddish on its back and sides with light wavy lines and red spots rimmed with blue halos on its sides. It has a white belly that turns bright red on adult males. It mostly eats aquatic insects but will also feed on other fish.

E. Unlike its notorious cousins, this 8-inch, eel-like fish is nonparasitic and is instead a filter feeder of microscopic organisms and organic particles, and then, only in its larval stage. The adults do not eat and die shortly after spawning. It lives in the pools and riffles of clear creeks. It is a member of the Petromyzontidae family, which has the highest known number of chromosome pairs—168—of any vertebrate family.

F. This minnow, which grows up to 12 inches, has a black spot on its dorsal fin. It lives in pools of headwaters, creeks and small rivers. The female lays her eggs in depressions in the gravel that have been excavated by the male, who defends the nest by ramming intruders with hornlike tubercules that develop on his head in the spring.

G. This species is the United State’s most common sunfish and can grow up to 16 inches long and weigh 4.75 pounds. It is found in the shallow, vegetated waters of warm streams, lakes and ponds. It is often stocked in water bodies to serve as a forage fish for larger fishes, such as bass.

H. This yellow-bellied member of the catfish family uses its chin barbels to look for food along the bottom of the heavily vegetated pools, backwaters, ponds and slow-moving streams. The body of this popular nocturnal sportfish is dark olive brown with yellowish brown sides.

I. This fish is found in the rocky riffles of cool, small to midsize streams and rivers. It grows up to 3 inches in length and has fleshy knobs at the tips of low spines on its first dorsal fin. It spawns upside down under flat rocks. The male uses the tips of its dorsal fin to scrape these rocks clean and will continue to guard the eggs until they hatch.

Illustration by Duane Raver courtesy of USF&WS

J. Although occasionally found in headwaters or large rivers, this small fish usually lives in the clear to turbid waters of rocky or sandy pools of small to medium rivers. The males are a noisy bunch: They will swim around a female during courtship, making purring noises. They also make a knocking sound when defending their spawning territory by advancing toward intruders with their fins erect.


1-G 2-D 3-F 4-I 5-E 6-B 7-J 8-C 9-A 10-H