Game and Forests New York (State). Commissioners of Fisheries.

Annual report of the Commissioners of Fisheries, Game and Forests of the ... online

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with other Crustacea, give the rich red color to the flesh of the fish. Indian Lake, in
the Adirondacks, was famous for its trout with deep red flesh and creamy curds be-
tween the flesh flakes. Some vandal put pike, the so-called
pickerel of this State, in the lake, and they destroyed the trout ;
but for years after their introduction the pike had flesh of a
beautiful pink tinge. I am fully aware that it has been ques-
' tioned whether the pigment in the shell of the Crustacea is
I ^ accountable for the red flesh of the fish that feed upon them ;

Pig. 2. Frerii Water Shrimp, j^^^ p^^f Agassiz has Said " the most beautiful trout are found
in waters which abound in Crustacea, direct experiments having shown that the inten-
sity of the red colors of their flesh depends upon the quantity of GammaridcB which
they have devoured."

Lanman has stated : ** One principal cause for the great variety in color of the
brook trout is the difference of food; such as live upon fresh water shrimps and
other Crustacea are the brightest ; those which feed upon May-flies and other aquatic
insects are the next ; and those which feed upon worms are the dullest of all. Trout
which feed much on larvae (Phryganidae) and their cases are not only red in flesh but
they become golden in hue and the red spots increase in number." The larvae
referred to are those of the Caddis fly and will be mentioned later. While food may
have something to do with the external coloring of trout, they have power to change
their general color to accord with the color of their surroundings, and this doubtless
is a provision of nature to enable them to escape from their enemies.

The shrimp is exceedingly prolific, breeding several times a year, and although
it is small (the line under the figure indicating the length of a full grown speci-
men), once it is established in a stream it breeds more rapidly than the fish, no
matter how plentiful, can eat them.

Investigation has proven that small crustaceans, either fresh or salt water forms,
are the principal food of the shad, herring, whitefish, salmon, trout and smelt. The
so-called Otsego bass, a white fish, has a superior flavor, which is attributed to shrimp
food. The State has planted thousands of shrimps in waters where they were
previously unknown, and with each planting has been sent a quantity of moss from
Caledonia Creek, already figured in this paper, which contained other animal forms.

Another favorite fish food are the various species of May-flies, one of which
is figured. At the time this drawing was made for this paper the flies were not to



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FISHERIES, GAME AND FORESTS. I05

be obtained, nor could a figure be found showing the fly in another, and perhaps
more famiHar, position, with wings cocked up and the long slender abdomen, ringed
as may be seen in the figure, turning upwards and ending in
two or three delicate stylets. Some species have two and
some three stylets. The net-veined wings may also be
seen in the figure.

The May-fly, day-fly, sand-fly, shad-fly, are some of
the names given to the ephemera which are known to fish-
ermen as the drgtkes — green, gray, yellow, brown, black,
amber, iron-blue, etc. The largest and, perhaps, the best
known of the May-flies is the Green drake, and the March
brown is also a favorite with the angler.

Professor L. C. Miall, F. R. S., in a recent work upon the Natural History of
Aquatic Insects, published by Macmillan & Co., has grouped certain aquatic insects
with the names employed by anglers to describe flies in the group.

1. Diptera (Two-winged flies). Golden Dun Midge.

2. Trichoptera (Caddis-flies). (This group is approximately the same as Phry-
ganidae, mentioned by Lanman and Prof. Lintner.) Blue Dun, Little Red Spinner,
Sand-fly, Grannom, Turkey Brown, Dark Spinner, Silver Horns, Cinnamon-fly.

3. Sialidae (Alder flies). Alder or Orl-fly.

4. Perlidae (Stone-flies). Red-fly (Old Joan), Stone-fly, Willow-fly (Shamrock-fly).

5. Ephemeridae (May-flies). March Brown (Dun or Brown Drake), Great Red
Spinner, Yellow Dun, Iron Blue Dun, Jenny Spinner, Little Yellow May Dun,
Sky Blue, Green Drake (May-fly), Gray Drake, Orange Dun, Black Drake, Dark
Mackerel, Pale Evening Dun, Whirling Blue Dun, July Dun, August Dun.

The method adopted by Michael Theakston, an English fisherman, of classifying
the insects chiefly copied by the artificial fly dresser, has always seemed to me more
popular for fishermen to follow. He divides the insects that are most imitated in
feathers, silk and tinsel into seven classes : Browns, Drakes, Duns, Spinners, House-
flies, Beetles and Ants. Perlidae are the Browns, Needle Brown, Orange Brown,
Stone-fly, etc.

Ephemeridae are the Drakes — May-fly or Green Drakes and all the other drakes.

Trichoptera are the Duns, the various Caddis-flies, which, by the way, should not
be confounded with the May-flies, as they are quite different, although the Century
Dictionary says the May-fly is the Caddis.

Diptera are the Spinners, Black Hackle, Early Spinners, Jenny Spinners, etc.

House-flies, Beetles and Ants tell their own story, ajid include the flies known as
Blue Bottle, Cow Dung, Gnats, Red Ant, Black Ant, etc.



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I06 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF

When the May-fly is in season the trout and other fish simply gorge on them, and
they occur all over the Northern United States and the Dominion of Canada. They
are called the Day-fly because their winged life is supposed to be limited to a single
day, but this is not so. When I conceived the idea, as I did a few years ago, of trans-
planting the Green Drake to waters where they were unknown to serve as fish food, I
caught a large number of the flies as they came from the water and confined them in
biscuit tins perforated to admit air, and in the wire portion of a bait bucket. They
lived for nearly two days under my observation, when I was suddenly called away, and
I know not how much longer they did live. There may be some species that do not
live longer than one day, but it is of record that the species shown in Fig. 3 have been
known to live a week. I might say, if any one cares to know it, that the figured
specimen is Hexagenia bilineata of Say, and is from an example taken by Prof. Lintner
near Schenectady in the month of June.

The flight of the May-fly at its height has been compared to a snowstorm, and I
have seen them covering the entire front of a large summer hotel, windows, doors and
every inch of woodwork, as though the house had been plastered with May-flies for a
purpose. This was because at the height of their flight the wind had blown them
against the house. I have also seen the empty larvae cases of the May-fly thrown up
on the shore of a lake by the waves in a regular windrow. So it is not a difficult
matter to obtain the flies for transplanting. That they have been transplanted success-
fully I discovered soon after I experimented with the flies to find how long they would
live. An English officer. Major G. W. Turle, transplanted the flies and the larvae and
established them in new waters. Swammerdam's ** Life of an Ephemera " is only
partly correct in describing the propagation of the May-fly, and yet it is quoted as
authentic :

** When the female has emerged from the water and cast off her skin she passes
the contents of the double ovary into the water, but first she moves to and fro on the
surface of the water as if in sport, and flits about with a rapid, exploring motion. Imme-
diately after the eggs are passed into the water they are fertilized by the male " (this
is incorrect, as the eggs are fertilized before they are deposited in the water), ** which
has previously emerged and cast off a delicate membranous skin. The eggs sink
slowly and are scattered over the mud at the bottom of the stream." It is unnecessary
to quote further from Swammerdam, for his description of the life of the larvae of the
May-fly is too technical for a paper of this character, and in some particulars further
investigation has shown that he was wrong, although in the main correct. It requires
two years for the larvae of the May-fly to pass from the ^%% to the winged stage of its
existence, and at all stages it furnishes first-class food for fishes. When the flight of
the flies takes place the larvae rises to the surface of the water, bursts its case, unfolds



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FISHERIES, GAME AND FORESTS. IO7

its wings and flies to the bushes, trees, buildings or other object on the shore, and
alights with the body hanging downward. The males and females rise together, live
their short lives together, and die together. Soon after the flies rise from the water
they shed their skin. I do not refer to the larvae case, which is left on the water, but
to the membranous skin of the fly itself. This is as I described the process a few
years ago in Forest and Stream :

** A few nights ago I was writing late, and in at the open window of my library
came a drake (May-fly), and settled on the sheet upon which I was writing. A few
moments after in came a spinner, with its long, slender legs, cylindrical, jointed body
and narrow wings, and after a tilt with the light dropped into my ink. If this was not
an invitation to get out fly-rod and fly-book and go a-fishing, what was it ?

"The next morning I found on a wire window screen seven drakes, six of one
species and one of another. After breakfast I lighted a pipe and sat down inside the
screen to watch the May-flies outside. Six of the drakes had two stylets or * whisks '
each ; the other had three, and was a bit larger in body and wings. My daughter was
with me, and, her eyes being sharper than mine, she was the first to discover that the
skin on the back of one of the smaller drakes, near the head, had split. Then there
was an undulating motion of head and body, and first one and then another leg of the
insect was lifted as a man might do in pulling his legs out of the mud. The legs grew
longer and longer, and a reading glass showed me that they were being withdrawn
from an outer skin, as, to continue the simile, the man stuck in the mud would pull his
legs from his long boots. The outer skin seemed to adhere to the screen as if fastened
with a sticky substance. In a few moments the legs were clear of the outer skin, and
the drake rested. Then the undulations of the body began again. Before they had
been distinctly up and down. Now they were forward and back, or serpentine, as
though the body contracted and elongated. This movement was intensified to the
eye by the ringed body of the drake. The head was bending slowly backward
towards the extremity of the body, when suddenly the wings were drawn clear of the
outer skin. Another rest for a moment, and the brave little drake crawled forward a
trifle, leaving the filmy skin, even to the covering of the stylets, fast to the screen.
The drake, which had been dusty and gray, although just out of its larvae case, was
now bright and shining. Its veined wings were transparent and glossy, its ringed
body was polished, and altogether it was a neater and more trim little drake than
before throwing off" or crawling from its outer skin."

To transplant the May-fly, cardboard boxes should be provided, and inside the
boxes perches for the flies must be fixed. This can be done with a sail needle and
worsted, sewing through the cardboard from side to side, making the perches about
two inches apart. As the flies are captured and placed in the boxes they will promptly-



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I08 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF

climb up on to the worsted perches until they are filled. Transport the boxes to the
water it is desired to stock, and shake the flies out on the bushes bordering the stream.
The flight of the May-fly covers a period of two weeks or such a matter on a stream
or lake, and on some waters they are much later than on others (I have seen them

rise on the Saguenay as late as September), and Major
Turle says that if flies from an early rising stream are
transplanted to a late rising stream, the period of flight
may be extended.

The fly which is sometimes confounded with the May-
fly or drake is the Caddis-fly, Fig. 4.

This example is enlarged as will be seen from the lines
under the figure. Like the May-fly this figure shows the
'* Caddis with wings extended. At rest the wings of the

Fig. 4. caddi8-Fiy. Caddis-fly are folded close to the body. The larvae form

of the Caddis-fly is called Caddis worm, in which stage it is eagerly sought as food
by fishes. Prof. Barfuth, of the University of Bonn, examined the stomachs of six
trout ; in one he found the cases of four Caddis worms ; in the second, one hundred and
thirty-six cases; in the third, five hundred and eighty-five cases; in the fourth, one
hundred and sixteen cases ; in the fifth, one hundred and eighty-six cases, and in the
sixth, one hundred and fifteen cases.

Reaumur says the Caddis worms are " found in small streams and brooks, in ponds
and lakes ; in a word, in any piece of water which has plants living in or around it.
They are usually vegetable feeders, but not exclusively so. The body of their larvae
is lodged in a silken tube, to the outside of which are fastened fragments of diff'erent
substances selected for the purpose of strengthening and defending it. The sheaths
may be quite irregular, rough and prickly, or smooth and symmetrical. When the old
sheath becomes too narrow or too short the larvae makes a fresh one.'* (They fre-
quently repair or extend the old case instead of making a new one.) ** Sometimes the
new sheath differs more from the cast-off one than our dress of to-day differs from that
of our grandfathers. • • • They employ very different materials, and the kind of
material largely affects the dress which they put on. They make use of whole or
nearly whole leaves, or little sticks and straws. Others use seeds, roots, grains of
sand and gravel, or the shells of water-snails and bivalves ; in short, all the materials
which can be found in water are employed by particular Caddis worms. In some
sheaths one only of these materials is employed, and these are the most neatly con-
structed. In other sheaths a number of different materials are made use of, so that
the larvae is dressed, so to speak, in rags and tatters, and its covering is altogether
shapeless."



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FISHERIES, GAME AND FORESTS. IO9

Figures 5,6, 7, and 8 are examples of Caddis worm cases or sheaths, and all came
from Caledonia Creek. Fig. 5 is composed of small stones, and is of natural size.
Fig. 6 is twice natural size and is composed of gravel and a few larger stones. Fig.
7 is composed of bark, and Fig. 8 of charcoal and shells.





Fig. 5. Fig. 6. Fiff- 7. Fig. 8.

These examples were selected because they were found in a stream on which one
of the State hatcheries is situated, and they represent cases constructed by four differ-
ent species of Caddis worms.

McLachlan's Trichoptera of the European Fauna shows cases that are quite
unlike the figures here given, but all would be quickly recognized as Caddis worm cases
from the illustrations in this paper.

Fig. 9 is an enlarged Caddis worm taken from the case of bark, Fig. 7.

The line at the side of the worm indicates its actual length. Some
Caddis worms creep along the bottom of a stream, but others load their
cases so heavily with gravel that they never move. At best the larvae is a
poor swimmer, and to move at all they usually creep, hence the name
** creeper " applied to the Caddis worm, and also to the May-fly larvae by
the anglers in England where both are used for bait in fishing. The Caddis
worm has at its hinder end two hooks projecting outward by which it holds
Caddis Worm, itself in its case should an attempt be made to remove it. Reaumur says the
cases of gravel and sand are the most difficult to construct, and yet a Caddis worm will
make one in five or six hours. In a trout pond on the top of a mountain in Vermont
I saw the bottom literally paved with Caddis worm cases and the trout were the finest
flavored I ever ate. Originally this pond contained nothing for the trout to eat but
small Crustacea and insects in various stages of existence, but minnows were planted
by men who were fishing through the ice in winter with live bait, and thereafter the
flesh of the trout became light colored in some examples. Wilmurt Lake, in this State,
has no other food than Crustacea and insects, and the trout from the lake have been pro-
nounced the finest known for the table.

When the larvae of the Caddis passes to the pupa stage it reconstructs its case and
it is generally shorter than before. The pupa emerges from its case, climbs up the



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I lO



REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF



water weeds or stones until it gains the air, and throws off the pupal skin. When lib-
erated it swims about easily, but with its back downward, and the fly escapes from the
floating pupa. The fly has four wings, and wings and body have a hairy appearance
as though fringed with short hairs as shown in Fig. 4.

The eggs of Caddis-flies are laid in water, or on water plants, or on trees overhang-
ing a stream, or sometimes far from the water. They are often of green color, and are
laid many together in a mucilage which swells out as soon as it comes in contact with
water, forming a cylindrical egg rope, or in some cases a flat disc. To transfer the
Caddis-fly for the purpose of furnishing fish food the larvae cases, or worms, can be
gathered in the spring, or even the pupa cases, and placed in a bucket of water and
carried to the stream or pond it is desired to stock. They need not necessarily be
gathered in the spring unless it is hoped to have a rise of the flies the same year. The
cases are so abundant that when found it is an easy matter to collect them by the
thousands if desired for transplanting. I imagine the eggs can be transplanted as
successfully as the worms. The fish eat cases and all when they feed on the worms
in the cases, as they have no means of extracting them.

All the fish food thus far referred to constitutes more particularly the food of fishes
after they have grown beyond the fry stage, although at some period of their existence
all of the food may serve to feed very young fish. There are smaller Crustacea than
the crayfish or shrimp which swarm in the waters of ponds, lakes and streams, and
which serve to feed young fish when they begin to take food through the mouth after
the umbilical sac is absorbed.




Fig. 10. Cyclops.



Fig. ID is one of these Crustacea, the Cyclops, and I regret that it is a very crude
figure of a male. The female has two attachments near the tail on either side which
are the ^ggi sacs, and are easily distinguishable on close inspection.



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FISHERIES, GAME AND FORESTS. Ill

The entomostraca are minute crustaceans, but the Cyclops has been greatly
enlarged, that it may be more easily identified. A single entomostraca, either of
this specie or the one next described, is so small that it requires good eyes to
distinguish it in the water, but a mass of some species of entomostraca in the water
in the spring and summer has an appearance not unlike blood. Small as these
crustaceans are, a species of copepoda, to which order the Cyclops belongs, forms
much of the food of whales. Fig. 1 1 is another crustacean, Daphnia pulex.



Fig. II. Daphnia pulex.

This minute crustacean is commonly known as the water-flea, and like the ** four-
horned " Cyclops, is greatly enlarged in the drawing. If all is true that has been
said of the Daphnia, they are the most prolific animals on earth. During a corre-
spondence with an Austrian fish culturist in regard to fish food he sent me a clipping
from an Austrian newspaper which, being translated, read that ** A pair of Daphnia
increases (reproduces) within twenty-four hours to 1,000,000,000 of descendants."
This seems to be too remarkable a feat in reproduction for one poor little female
Daphnia to be charged with. I submitted the correspondence to Mr. Charles G.
Atkins, Superintendent of the Maine Hatching Stations of the United States Fish
Commission, who, more than any man that I know in this country, has investigated
and practiced the artificial propagation of natural fish food. Mr. Atkins, after reading
the statement of wonderful reproduction of Daphnia, said : ** The man who wrote
that has committed an enormous blunder. The increase of Daphnia is at no such
rate. In an article that I read, some time since, in Revue des Sciences Naturelles



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112 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF

AppliqueeSy a writer who appeared to me to be exaggerating in other matters that
I knew something about, gave this estimate : *that the descendants of a single female
Daphnia would in 'sixty days amount to 1,291,370,075 individuals/ That is

astounding enough and I am not yet ready to accept it, but Mr. makes a female

Daphnia do about four-fifths as much in twenty-four hours.

"We have studied Daphnia some at this station, kept them in aquaria and under
such restraint as enabled us to follow their reproduction. The eggs are large, the
brood cavity could not hold a hundred of them at once, I should say that less than
fifty would be the average. In the summer they hatch in the brood cavity and
come out alive and kicking. It takes three or four days for eggs to mature and
come forth, and about a week for the young to come to maturity so as to reproduce.
Of course, I recognize the possibility of European Daphnia being more prolific
than ours.

"At Wood's Holl there was an abundance of two species of Daphnia, one of them,
I think, Daphnia pulex, the other a very large one, say one-fifth or one-quarter of
an inch long, the largest I ever saw."



Fig. 13. Daphnia bearingr eggs.

Mr. Atkins sent me specimens of two species of Daphnia, and one individual
bearing eggs was enlarged in a drawing for this paper, in the office of the State
Entomologist, and is shown in Fig. 12. About forty eggs can be counted in this
single specimen, which it will be noticed is of a different species from that shown
in Fig. 1 1.

While preparing this paper I was suddenly confronted by a dilemma which was for
the moment most embarrassing. The drawings and plates of the figure had been
made of the Daphnia, and my notes commending the crustacean as fish food were
practically ready for the printer when incidentally Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, Director of
the New York Aquarium, informed me that in translating from the French a



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FISHERIES, GAME AND FORESTS. II3

lecture by Dr. Jousset de Bellesme, Director of Fish Culture of Paris, he found that
the lecturer placed little value upon Daphnia as fish food. I was furnished with a
copy of the translation and found that it said:

" I have demonstrated in experiments made at the Trocadero Aquarium that feed-
ing by means of Daphnia is simply a dangerous illusion. These little animals possess
very small value as food, and fish which are subjected to this regime do not grow.
But it is important to the fish culturist that his products grow as quickly as possible,
and to accomplish this we must not forsake food materials of rich quality like meat,
blood, etc."

There were three things any one of which might be done under the circumstances ;
abandon the idea of referring to the Daphnia as desirable food material for fish ; ignore
the conclusions of Dr. Jousset de Bellesme, or, show that he was in error and his con-
clusions were not final.

Upon reading the entire lecture I found that in his experiments his efforts were
directed entirely to rearing fish for market to a certain size in the shortest possible time
consistent with prime condition of the fish, and really his condemnation of Daphnia as
fish food was not as sweeping as his words would make it appear.

It will be fair to say that Dr. Jousset de Bellesme means that under his system of
pond culture, which he explains at length, Daphnia do not possess qualities as fish
food to produce the maximum growth of certain species of fishes, within a given time,
to obtain the best results from a monetary point of view, when the fish so fed are treated
as a marketable commodity. Of this view of the matter we have nothing to say, for
it is entirely outside of the purposes of this paper to treat of feeding fish for market,



Online LibraryGame and Forests New York (State). Commissioners of FisheriesAnnual report of the Commissioners of Fisheries, Game and Forests of the ... → online text (page 11 of 38)