Bigclaw Snapping Shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) Collected in April 2015 in the Upper Reach of Sapelo River, GA AKA “Pistol Shrimp” Otherwise known as one of the neatest critters in the estuaries you probably didn’t know was there. The common name, pistol shrimp, comes from the way these shrimp use their enlarged claw (which can be either on the left or the right). The shrimp cocks its claw like a pistol when it sees its prey, aims, and ‘fires’ by
Category Archives: Catch of the Day
Eastern Oyster Scientific Name: Crassotrea virginica Rachel’s Name: The Trawl Chewer Oysters are really important to the estuarine ecosystem. Really important. They provide structure, habitat, and ‘scrub’ the waters through filter feeding of harmful pathogens. They were nearly wiped out in Georgia at the turn of the century because of a thriving canning industry. It wasn’t that we ate them to death, but we used the shells in construction on land rather than returning them to the water. Young
Location: Mackay River, St. Simons Sound. Found primarily on the Western Atlantic coast from Massachusetts, USA to Brazil, they prefer shallow coastal waters of both marine and brackish salinity. Juveniles stay in very shallow water, swimming at an angle to mimic dead leaves to avoid predators. Adults reach up to 91 cm. While they are not often commercially harvested, some game fishermen enjoy their meat. The extent of harvest and status of their population is currently unknown.
Location: Turtle River, St. Simons Sound. We are excited to see these show up in our trawl. Adults grow to 63 cm. These are a member of the drums and croaker (Sciaenidae) family of fish and not actually related to trout as some freshwater fishermen may know. It is one of the more abundant game species in the estuaries, and a popular target for fishermen. It lives its entire life cycle within the estuaries, rarely venturing out of the sounds
Location:North River, Doboy Sound. When I first caught these, they looked more like little balls of snot with eyes (see picture below) out of the water when they aren’t all puffed up. I had no idea what I was looking at. These are the juveniles of the Striped Burrfish, which are much more easy to recognize as adults. They can grow up to 25 cm and are common in estuaries and coastal lagoons from North Carolina down to Brazil.
Location: Altamaha River, Altamaha Sound. This juvenile is 8 mm long (standard length), but can grow to 7.6 cm. They use suction like disk on its belly to cling to oyster shells and grasses. Game Fish: No
This cool little fish has a sand-paper texture skin. Adults grow up to 27 cm. It is wide ranging Atlantic species, though it’s juveniles may use shallower, weedier areas for refuge. Game Species: In some parts of its range it is desirable. It is generally not targeted in the USA.