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LIST OF FISHES OF HOMOSASSA SPRINGS
SELACHII GEN. ET. SP. INCOGNITA
An unidentified shark was observed in the Fish Bowl by Mr.
(?) DASYATIS SABINUS (LE SUEUR)
A ray, probably this species, has been observed in the Fish Bowl
by Mr. David Newell. Dr. Bigelow writes that the possibilities are
good that it was D. sabinus, which in the Mississippi drainage is
known to occur 200 miles upstream from the sea and in Florida is
well distributed throughout the St. Johns River system.
ACIPENSER BREVIROSTRUM LE SUEUR
One large specimen several feet in length is mounted on the
wall of the Old Mill tavern at Old Homosassa Springs. It was said
to have been taken in the river about 10 years ago. If valid, this
record is probably the southernmost for the species along the west
coast of Florida. Fowler (1945) has recorded the species from the
LEPISOSTEUS OSSEUS (LINNAEUS)
This species is quite common down the river, and there are
usually several individuals present at various times of the day in
the Fish Bowl. The long-nosed gar is reported to be in spawning
condition in the springs only during the spring months of February,
March, and April; during these months the sheepshead have been
observed to bite at the gravid female gars thus causing them to
extrude their ova which are readily snapped up by the sheepshead
(verbal communication from Mr. Elmo Reed). Gars have been
observed only in the Fish Bowl, and in none of the other springs.
The short-nosed or spotted gar (Lepisosteus platyrhynchus) has
not been observed in any of the springs, although it should be in
TARPON ATLANTICUS (CUVIER AND VALENCIENNES)
An individual of this species was observed near the boat dock by
Mr. David Newell. Apparently this tarpon is attracted to spring
102 JOURNAL OF FLORIDA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
waters, for during May 1946 the senior author observed a small
school of some 15 individuals (about 18" long) in Sulphur Springs
near Tampa, Florida. These tarpon were in the lower swimming
pool of the springs and were not readily observed as they constantly
swam into the boil of water caused by the overflow of the main
spring which is also used as a swimming pool.
ERIMYZON SUCETTA SUCETTA (LACEPEDE)
Eastern Lake Chub-sucker
Although this species has not been observed in the Fish Bowl
by either of the writers, we are assured that it is present through-
out most of the year. Erimyzon does not appear to be uncommon
in the North Spring adjacent to the Fish Bowl and in the springs
on the south arm of the river. The spotted sucker, Minytrema mel-
anops (Rafinesque), was not observed, and although this latter
species is common in the Suwannee drainage, it apparently does
not occur this far south.
ERIMYSTAX HARPERI (FOWLER)
This attractive minnow, which is separated from all other Florida
minnows by the small barbel at the juncture of the upper and
lower jaw, is very common around the edge of the Fish Bowl where
it lives in the weedy areas in association with Chriopeops goodei
and Lucania parva. E. harper was originally described from Man-
atee Springs which empties into the Suwannee River. Because of a
discrepancy in the original description of E. harper, topotypes of
the species from Manatee. Springs were collected and these com-
pared with Homosassa material, which was found to be the same.
On the 30th of March trip, gravid females were found. Counts of
the numbers of eggs were made of 12 selected individuals and are
recorded as follows:
Standard Length in mm No. of Eggs Contained in Ovaries
LIST OF FISHES OF HOMOSASSA SPRINGS
NOTEMIGONUS CRYSOLEUCAS BOSCII (VALENCIENNES)
Florida Golden Shiner
This species has not been observed or collected in the Fish Bowl,
although it has been observed in the North Spring, and in the Main
Spring of the south arm of the river.
BAGRE MARINUS (MITCHELL)
Northern Sea Catfish
This is the only species collected in the spring by the writers;
however, it should be pointed out that an adequate sample was
not obtained, and whether the tremendous school of catfishes in the
Fish Bowl is composed entirely of this species or partly of the next
species listed remains to be determined.
GALEICHTHYS FELIS (LINNAEUS)
No specimens of this species were collected by the writers, nor
were any observed with facemask which could definitely be at-
tributed to this species. This record is based upon Dr. A. F. Carr's
notes recorded by Gunter (1942: 314).
AMEIURUS NATALIS EREBENNUS (JORDAN)
Just behind the coffee shop at the Springs is a small rock-walled
spring (6 feet in diameter) with no outlet. This small spring con-
tains a number of 6 to 9 inch individuals of the yellow-bellied
catfish, but the species is not found in any of the adjacent spring
waters. No one has been able to state definitely that these fish
were not planted in this small spring, and the fact that they have
not been found in the surrounding waters rather strongly suggests
that they may have been introduced.
104 JOURNAL OF FLORIDA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
STRONGYLURA MARINA (WALBAUM)
This species was observed in the Fish Bowl on March 30, 1946,
and is usually present in the vicinity of the boat dock. It is not so
common in the Bowl as in adjacent river areas, and it has not been
observed in any of the other springs.
LUCANIA PARVA (BAIRD AND GIRARD)
This species lives in association with Erimystax harper and
Chriopeops goodei in the weed masses on the sides of the Fish
Bowl. Lucania is about as common as Erimystax, whereas Chri-
opeops is the least common of the three. The broad indistinct dark
bands present on some Lucania from other Florida springs (Rock
Springs and Weekiva Springs, especially the latter) do not seem to
be so apparent on these specimens. They were not taken in springs
other than the Fish Bowl.
CHNIOPEOPS GOODEI (JORDAN)
This form was common in weeds together with Lucania and
Erimystax. It was taken only in the Fish Bowl.
CYPRINODON VARIEGATUS VARIEGATUS (LACEPEDE)
Southern Sheepshead Killifish
One specimen of this species was observed at the Pump Spring
at the edge of the cement ledge on 3 May 1946. Unfortunately it
could not be caught. It was not observed in any of the other springs.
HETERANDRIA FORMOSA (AGASSIZ)
This very small species has been taken at the Fish Bowl where,
because of its small size and ability to slip through the normal
M inch mesh seine, it is probably much more common than sus-
pected. It has also been collected at the Pump Spring and at the
North Spring next to the Fish Bowl. At times it is found in asso-
ciation with Erimystax, Lucania and Chriopeops in the weedy
LIST OF FISHES OF HOMOSASSA SPRINGS
MOLLIENISIA LATIPINNA LE SUEUR
Although this species has been collected in the North Spring and
in the Pump Spring, it has not been found in the Fish Bowl, and
such is also true of the next species, Gambusia affinis holbrookii.
The absence of these two species from the Bowl is one of the un-
explained mysteries of the ichthyology of the Springs. One specimen
of Mollienisia, a melanistic individual, was collected in a small
pond immediately behind the Springs Headquarters.
GAMBUSIA AFFINIS HOLBROOKII (GIRARD)
This species has been collected in the North Spring and in the
Pump Spring, but has not been taken in the Fish Bowl, although
it does occur just outside of the Bowl along the north side of Fish
Bowl Run. Gambusia does not appear to be as common in the
Springs as at other localities in Florida.
CENTROPOMUS UNDECIMALIS (BLOCH)
Northern Robalo or Snook
Large specimens of this species, up to several feet in length, are
quite common in the Fish Bowl, and on March 30, 1946, a single
individual was observed in the bottom of the North Spring adja-
cent to the Fish Bowl. The snook presents a curious problem, for
although one is quickly impressed with the numbers of snook
present in the Fish Bowl, nevertheless, the species is not taken
in the river nor at the river mouth. Neither is it observed enroute
up or down the river although other marine species appearing in
the Fish Bowl are observed or caught in the river.
LUTIANUS GRISEUS (LINNAEUS)
Mangrove or Gray Snapper
The gray snapper is fairly common in the area of the springs,
and although it is very abundant in the spring run below the Bowl,
it nevertheless does not come into the Bowl in any great numbers.
This is especially true in summer, but the numbers are said to be
greater in the colder months. Exactly the reverse is true of Lagodon
rhomboides. The mangrove snapper has also been observed in some
of the springs on the south arm of the river.
106 JOURNAL OF FLORIDA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
LUTIANUS APODUS (WALBAUM)
Although all specimens collected in the springs area were of the
former species, L. apodus is recorded from the springs in Carr's
notes (Gunter, 1942: 314). A few snappers which had a line be-
neath the eye were observed in the run below the Bowl and it is
possible that they might have been this species. Mr. Jack Dunham
states that he has not observed any fish which he believes could
be definitely assigned to this species.
LAGODON RHOMBOIDES (LINNAEUS)
It is possible that another species may be confused with this
one. Only one specimen was collected, and its characters were
somewhat at variance with those given for L. rhomboides. It was
observed and collected only in the Fish Bowl. It is also recorded
by Carr in Gunter (1942: 315).
ARCHOSARGUS PROBATOCEPHALUS (WALBAUM)
This species is very common in the Fish Bowl, but has not been
observed in other of the springs nor in the run from the Bowl.
The snapping by Archosargus at gravid females of Lepisosteus has
been described under that form. It is also recorded by Carr
(Gunter, 1942: 315).
EUCINOSTOMOUS ARGENTEUS BAIRD AND GIRARD
This striking silver-colored fish is found only on the sandy
bottom areas of the south arm of the springs. As one poles a boat
upstream from the bridge, many individuals may be seen darting
ahead of the boat. With face mask, they may be observed feeding
on the mushy rubble surrounding a small spring just above the
bridge. This mojarra was found to be very hard to net, but finally
a single specimen was speared. This, together with another speci-
men from Crystal River Spring (USNM 133340 and 133341), was
examined by Dr. Leonard P. Schultz of the United States National
Museum, and upon dissection both were found to be of this species.
This is a new addition to the known fauna of the Florida fresh
LIST OF FISHES OF HOMOSASSA SPRINGS
SCIAENOPS OCELLATUS (LINNAEUS)
One or two individuals of this species were in the Fish Bowl each
time that face mask observations were made. Often they would not
be visible from the surface as they seemed to habituate the rocky
crevice area on the far side of the Bowl, and often, in the same
manner as the Sea Trout, they would sound as the investigator
came into the water. Usually during the colder months they are
reportedly more abundant in the Bowl than at other times. They
have not been observed in the other springs.
CYNOSCION NEBULOSUS (CUVIER AND VALENCIENNES)
Several individuals of the sea trout were usually in the Bowl
each time that observations were made. As previously stated, they
sound as soon as the biologist enters the water. This species is also
said to be more common during the winter months.
CHAENOBRYTTUS CORONARIUS (BARTRAM)
Although said to be not uncommon in the river in the vicinity
of the Springs, only one specimen was taken in any of the springs,
and that one was collected from the Pump Spring on May 3, 1943.
None was observed by use of face masks.
LEPOMIS MACROCHIRUS PURPURESCENS COPE
This species is very common in the springs area, and has been
observed in all of the springs. Characteristically, individuals in
this area show the typical artesian spring coloration, i.e., heavy
vertical banding with light ground color. It should be noted that
none of the bluegills in the Springs have the dark overall coloration
which often appears in large individuals living in lakes.
LEPOMIS PUNCTATUS PUNCTATUS (CUVIER AND VALENCIENNES)
In the central Florida springs this is one of the commonest of
sunfishes. It is fairly abundant at Homosassa Springs where it has
been collected in the Fish Bowl and observed in the other springs.
108 JOURNAL OF FLORIDA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
LEPOMIS MICROLOPHIS MICROLOPHIS (Giinther)
This well-marked species, distinguished by its orange ear spot,
is present in limited numbers in the Fish Bowl and the North
Spring. It has not been observed nor collected in the springs on
the south arm of the river.
MICROPTERUS SALMOIDES FLOBIDANUS (LE SEUER)
Although the largemouth seems to be of normal abundance in
the Homosassa Springs other than the Fish Bowl, a satisfactory
reason yet remains to be advanced as to why it is so uncommon
in the Fish Bowl. With the face mask it was often possible to
distinguish one or more specimens in the Bowl, but the maximum
observed at one period of observation was five, and the number
was usually one or two or none. It has been suggested that
physico-chemical factors may be involved in this matter, but such
yet remains to be determined. The largemouth has been observed
in all of the springs.
MUGIL CEPHALUS LINNAEUS
The striped mullet is one of the commoner and more obvious
fishes in the Fish Bowl where several individuals will usually be
found feeding at any time of the day. The striped mullet is said
to be most common in the Bowl during the months of October,
November, and December, during which period the females are
said to be gravid. Often this species tends to school in the Fish
Bowl, and especially is this true late in the evening. It seems to
be fairly well distributed in the area, and has been observed in
the North Spring and in the Main Spring of the south arm of the
MUGIL CUREMA CUVIER AND VALENCIENNES
White or Silver Mullet
This species is not so common as the previous form, and although
one or more individuals are often observed in the Bowl it has not
been recorded in the other springs in the area.
LIST OF FISHES OF HOMOSASSA SPRINGS
CARANX HIPPOS (LINNAEUS)
Common Jack or Crevally
One or more individuals of this species were observed on various
occasions swimming slowly about the Fish Bowl; the species has
not been observed in the other springs.
ECHENEIS NAUCRATES LINNAEUS
This species is recorded by Gunter (1942: 315) from the notes
of A. F. Carr, Jr. It is not known by other than this record, exact
details of which are not available. Mr. Jack Dunham informs us
that he observed three or four specimens during 1946 which were
possibly of this species. They were attached to mullet, snook, and
FERGUSON, G. E., C. W. LINGHAM, S. K. LOVE, and R. O. VERNON
1947. Springs of Florida. Florida Geological Survey, Geological Bulletin
No. 81, xii 196, 87 figs, map.
FOWLER, H. W.
1945. A study of the fishes of the southern piedmont and coastal plain.
Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., Mongr. 7, 1-408, 313 figs.
1942. A list of the fishes of the mainland of north and middle America
recorded from both freshwater and seawater. Amer. Mid. Nat.,
28,. no. 2: 805-826.
Quart. Journ. Fla. Acad. Sci., 11(4) 1949 (1949)