A Surprise and a Lesson

Hi Everyone! If you’re wondering about the title; you remember how I said that I would share that story, but needed to research something first? Well here’s that little story:

It was cloudy afternoon and right before dinner my dad, Maggie and I decided to go for a walk. We walked down the road to a small bridge and decided to go further to a second bridge down the road a bit. Not a very hard walk and it was rather nice. As we stood on the bridge looking down in the water, we saw something small and thin swimming very fast. Maggie was the one who pointed it out: “What is that?” At first I thought it was a tadpole or a baby bullfrog, but dad said “I think that’s an eel!” And we all ran to the other side of the bridge, hoping to see it again. I wasn’t looking in the right place and missed seeing it dive into deeper waters, but it got me interested. It was a small one, only about 7 – 8 inches long, just a little guy, but I never knew there had been eels in Minnesota. That was the surprise I mentioned. The lesson?… I decided to do a little research…

(picture found at: http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/region/3756527-7-odd-animals-call-minnesota-home)

The little guy in the picture is about how big the one we saw was. This is an American Eel, they go to the Sargasso Sea in Autumn to breed (and die soon after) and when the eggs hatch the babies are transparent and look similar to a willow leaf. The babies go to the freshwater found along the Atlantic Coast. It could take as long as 20 years to reach the headwaters. The Adults have long, cylindrical bodies that resemble a snakes. They have a very long fin that runs from the dorsal side to the pelvic area. They eat fish, frogs, and bugs but they, themselves can be eaten by larger fish or fish-eating birds or mammals. When they return to the Sargasso Sea, their bodies turn “blackish-bronze, their eyes enlarge, they fatten and develop a thicker skin, and their digestive tract degenerates.”

This is just a little bit of information that I found at http://www.nature.org/newsfeatures/specialfeatures/animals/fish/american-eel.xml. What other info can you find about these odd little creatures?

That’s all for now! Bye!

-Anne Bell

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8 thoughts on “A Surprise and a Lesson

  1. Hi Anne!
    this is such an interesting story! I had a similar experience with a sea urchin in the lake that I live on. To be honest I still don’t know if it was a sea urchin or not, but it was very tiny, and sure looked like one. And it was actually alive. My brother and I were playing around the lake, throwing an empty ice cream bucket attached to a clip and some twine into the lake (which at that time had overflowed the shore line past the cattails) looking for tad pole. Then we found the little bugger and ran it over to my mom, who at first didn’t think it was really a sea urchin (because how would it have gotten into our lake?) but after examining it closer, she deiced that it really was a sea urchin. It kind of looked like this, but smaller and black: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0168e7ee4560970c-320wi

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    • Yeah… that seems like a sea urchin. Perhaps a bird brought it in or maybe with the flood waters, it could’ve been swept into the lake by ways of underground river areas. There are a few possibilities, but yes, that is an interesting story.

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