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Book Chapter

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Freshwater Fishes of North America





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Johns Hopkins University Press

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The order Esociformes (Pikes and Mudminnows) comprises two families, Esocidae (Pikes) and Umbridae (Mudminnows). The Pikes are a small Holarctic (Northern Hemisphere) family, that includes large, elongate predators with duckbill-like snouts full of sharp teeth. Popular with sport fishers, the largest Pikes fight fiercely on hook and line. As piscivorous, voracious, ambush predators, the Pikes play an important functional role in the trophic ecology and fish assemblage structure of many aquatic systems, especially in northern lakes. Other esocids, such as the Olympic Mudminnow, Novumbra hubbsi, and Blackfishes, genus Dallia, are interesting because of their tolerance of low dissolved oxygen and pH. The Alaska Blackfish, Dallia pectoralis, and the Northern Pike, Esox lucius, can also withstand the extremely cold conditions of the Arctic and subarctic waters of Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. The name Esocidae is derived from Linnaeus’s (1758) generic name for Pike, Esox, from the Latin word esox meaning Pike, which came originally from the Greek isox or possibly the Gaelic eog, ehawe (salmon) (Boschung & Mayden 2004).




Author Posting © Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020. This is a preview of the chapter cited, and it is posted here by permission of Johns Hopkins University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The chapter was published in Freshwater Fishes of North America, Volume 2, July 2020.

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