Once extirpated fish species believed discovered in Mississippi River
DES MOINES—State and national scientists are working to identify a fish found in the Mississippi River recently that, if proven to be what it is thought, would be the first time in more than 80 years the species has been confirmed in Iowa.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff collecting fish for a fishing clinic in early July captured what is believed by state and national authorities to be a longear sunfish.
“If this proves to be a longear sunfish it will be the first time since 1932 the species has been positively identified in Iowa,” said DNR fisheries technician Adam Thiese, who collected the fish. “How it got here and where it came from remains to be determined. For those that work in the fisheries field, both state and nationally, anytime an uncommon species can be documented, it’s an exciting discovery.”
Leading national ichthyologists believe it is a longear sunfish. A fin clip has been collected to verify. Once listed as common in bayous around Muscatine, they have been extirpated from the state for more than eight decades.
The fish is being held alive by the DNR until it can be positively identified.