Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Picture of the Indiscriminate Interval #000006b - Morone saxatilis


I can assure you this Nightmare Mode identification challenge is solvable. Okay, so maybe fish crania are rarely figured in the literature and this particular example was damaged before I could photograph it, but all the pieces are there, I swear!

Location is a major clue. The specimen was found far into Narragansett Bay in an area with a salinity of 30.0 ppt (Hicks 1959), which is right at the brackish-saline transition. Considering that this delicate structure was recovered intact, it seems probable that the fish died in the immediate vicinity. I think it's safe to conclude that the owner of the cranium was tolerant of marine and brackish conditions, which reduces the number of candidates considerably.

Then there's size. After having recently skeletonized a fish and being surprised at the comparatively puny cranium, I was startled to see a cranium around 6" (15 cm) long, when complete. Since it does not appear that any large local fish have a head less than 1/3 of the total length (yes, even American Angler and Oyster Toadfish) and since cranium ≠ head, I set a very conservative lower bounds of 50 cm (20"). This is still a massive body size and coupled with the presumed habitats, a very manageable number of candidates emerges. 

The Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) is anadromous and very large, however, the cranium is radically different. I cannot resist mentioning the bizarre proboscis-mouthAtlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) are certainly large enough, however the cranium is not a match, despite being much more similar than that of the sturgeon. I have observed a large dead Tautog (Tautoga onitis) in almost the same locale, but cannot find the neurocranium illustrated anywhere. Before trying to acquire a dead Tautog and testing that hypothesis, I wondered if there was a better candidate I overlooked. I recalled seeing Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) being caught nearby and photographs of local specimens which demonstrated that they reached colossal sizes fairly regularly. By sheer dumb luck, I stumbled across Jordan (1905) which had the cranium figured:


The supraoccipital (sagittal crest-like structure) and end of the snout strongly resembled the illustration below before being damaged.
Note that the mystery specimen still has an attached vertebrae. It seems somewhat wider than the Striped Bass cranium, but this could be due to damage, variation, or the illustration being inaccurate. 

The mystery specimen lacks the paired foramina (?) on the midline about  3/4 of the way up. Considering that the crania appear to be otherwise identical, maybe it was just weird shading or these fish are variable.
One odd difference aside, this is certainly the owner's species (being held):

From Wikipedia Commons.
The Striped Bass has some other relatives in the 'family' Moronidae and while a couple species in my area attain record lengths approaching 50 cm TL (Morone americana, M. chrysops), such sizes are apparently freakish and I doubt the crania would be large enough anyways.

My hat is off to anyone seriously working with fish skeletons. After my little tastes, I am completely and utterly traumatized. 

References:

Hicks, S. D. (1959). The Physical Oceanography of Narragansett Bay. Limnology and Oceanography 4(3), 316-327. Available.

Jordan, D. S. (1905). A Guide to the Study of Fishes. Volume 1. Henry Holt and Company: New York. Available.

19 comments:

Jean Potter said...

My son just found almost an identical skull on Bonnet Shores Rocky beach, near the URI Bay Campus so we've emailed a paleontologist at URI and will wait to hear back. It looks like this one - found in New Zeland.http://images.google.com/imgres?q=bird+skull+with+crest&num=10&hl=en&biw=1366&bih=643&tbm=isch&tbnid=Gg_os3Qefhz5vM:&imgrefurl=http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/rodney-times/3312178/Can-you-help&docid=UiQbwIpKA-rBRM&imgurl=http://static.stuff.co.nz/1265758747/185/3312185.jpg&w=618&h=400&ei=8sf0T_c2i7LRAfn_nPUG&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=762&vpy=155&dur=251&hovh=181&hovw=279&tx=85&ty=98&sig=107535525734891920054&page=1&tbnh=133&tbnw=175&start=0&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0,i:87

Anonymous said...

My friend and I also found an identical skull yesterday, only we found it in Swansea, MA right by the Swansea town beach. The skull we found was almost perfectly in tact and looks exactly like the sketches pictured here.

alex gonzalez said...

I found the same head thus Sunday Nov 30th 2015 in port isabel Texas while fishing. How can I post a pic. Email me at algon921@gmail.com

jaring pengaman said...

The article posted was very informative and useful
thanks for sharing.
jaring futsal , jaring futsal murah , jual jaring futsal , toko jaring futsal , agen jaring futsal , jaring golf , jual jaring golf , jaring golf murah ,
jaring polynet , tangga darurat , jaring truk , jaring cargo , jaring outbound , jual rumput futsal murah , jual rumput sintetis murah ,
tali tambang , cargo net , jaring tanaman , jaring kassa , jaring proyek , jaring bangunan , jaring gedung , jaring pengaman proyek ,
jaring pengaman bangunan , jaring pengaman gedung , jaring peneduh , jaring waring , kasa hijau , tangga darurat , jaring gawang futsal , jual jaring gawang futsal murah , jaring peneduh , jaring truk , tali tambang nylon
https://tokojaring.wordpress.com/

drs hd recuperacao de dados said...

I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.drs hd recuperacao de dados

limo rental Brooklyn said...

I trust you made some decent focuses in features.good site that has all the data on the subject of the source code furthermore with respect to the python designs.limo rental Brooklyn

West Palm Beach Social Media Marketing said...

This is a amazing inspiring composition.I am gorgeous plenty pleased among your salubrious process.You put truly really cooperative info.West Palm Beach Social Media Marketing

karaoke beat said...

Picture nice (Y)
Chuyển nhà giá rẻ tại khu đô thị trung hòa |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà tại khu đô thị ciputra |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ khu đô thị việt hưng |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ tại times city |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói tại khu đô thị trung hòa |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói khu đô thị trung hòa |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà tại khu đô thị times city |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói khu đô thị việt hưng |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ khu đô thị times city |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói tại ecopark |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ khu đô thị royal city |
Chuyển nhà giá rẻ tại khu đô thị royal city |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà giá rẻ khu đô thị royal city |
Chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ tại trung hòa |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói giá rẻ tại ecopark |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà tại khu đô thị times city |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà tại khu đô thị ciputra |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà giá rẻ tại khu đô thị trung hòa |
Dịch vụ chuyển nhà trọn gói khu đô thị trung hòa
chuyển nhà trọn gói |

native american flutes said...

Raspberries, gooseberries, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, and nanking cherries…I share with wildlife and I’m so happy to see bees everywhere this summer!native american flutes

key west knee injury lawyer said...

We take pride in offering great packing & moving services at reasonable prices. All our employees are experienced, courteous and careful. We offer personalised service for any kind of relocation whether it is local, Domestic.key west knee injury lawyer

knee injury attorney Plantation said...

As part of an assignment for research I have to find an article with relevant information on this topic and give the teacher our opinion and the article. Your article helped me a lot.knee injury attorney Plantation

Best economical Dymo Labels said...

Although many paperwork which have been key resources continue in non public arms, the typical location for the children can be an save. These types of is usually community as well as nonpublic.http://www.myvintage.co.uk

currency exchange comparison said...

Wow...I mean WOW, there were so many fabulous ideas here for neigbour & teacher gifts - thank you! currency exchange comparison

conveyancing solicitors said...

These are so adorable! My husband's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I need some unique gift ideas for him. I don't have a ton of money to spend but I want to get him something that will last. Let me know if you have any recommendations.conveyancing solicitors

feathers said...

Very quickly this web site will be famous amid all blog people, due to it’s good articles or reviews feathers

ios icon pack said...

Many websites has good collection of information but this one has great collection and combination of information.ios icon pack

velux loft conversion said...

Your article has piqued a lot of positive interest. I can see why since you have done such a good job of making it interesting.velux loft conversion

legalrecruitment.net said...

A lot of things that can increase my knowledge here, I continue to monitor your blog for updates. Thankyou i really love itlegalrecruitment.net

document management software said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to readdocument management software