Blue Suckers for NANFA 2017 Convention in Missouri

I was asked to design the t-shirt for this year’s annual meeting of the North American Native Fishes Association in Missouri (June 8-13, 2017, Meramec State Park).

To register for the convention: http://www.nanfa.org/convention/2017.shtml

NANFA 2017 shirt NANFA 2017 shirt (closeup)

There’s even something on the back, in case you’re being followed:

NANFA 2017 shirt (back)

The first batch of orders has shipped!

To order a shirt (or a bunch of them): http://www.nanfa.org/cart.shtml#MOshirt (all proceeds go to NANFA, not me). They come in M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL. $25 each ($30 for XXL and XXXL) and shipping is $5 for any quantity. Assuming there are any left, they will also be for sale at the convention. Shirts are 100% cotton. Image is silkscreened, so these will last a long time.

Blue Sucker print

Blue Sucker print (close-up)

Blue Sucker print (close-up)

Blue Sucker print (close-up)

Posters too

I am selling a small number of posters of the design to help fund my trip to the convention. I put an insane number of hours into the design, for free, and I was happy to do it. That said, gas and hotel rooms aren’t going to volunteer themselves. My recommendation is to buy the t-shirt so the money goes to NANFA. Then, if you like it and want to look at it when the shirt’s in the wash, pick up a poster. They are 16 x 24 inch giclee prints, archival ink on heavy, archival paper. Go to https://www.etsy.com/listing/512974386/nanfa-2017-blue-sucker-poster. They are ready to ship now. 25% of proceeds from posters will be donated to NANFA. After printing costs and the donation, if I sell the whole run it might cover about half the cost of my gas and lodging. (If you want it framed, that will be available for an additional $50-$60, which, after the cost of the frame, glass and backing, plus extra shipping costs, won’t add much—if anything—to what I make but will get a few extra bucks to NANFA.)

Why Blue Suckers?

I chose the species for several reasons, including the obvious and incontrovertible fact that it is among the very coolest of North America’s native fishes. Aside from that, it’s a fitting choice because it was almost always known in the literature as the Missouri Sucker (until the 1920s: see my article on the history of its names on this very site or in the winter 2015 issue of American Currents). It is a big river fish that’s perfect for a big river state like MO, home to the two longest rivers on the continent. Finally, I thought it could use more attention, as it’s a little-known but historically and biologically important native species that’s not been treated well by the modern world.

I based the two main fish on photos I took while electrofishing the Wisconsin River with NANFA member John Lyons of the Wisconsin DNR and members of his staff (see the story and lots of photos).

The two silhouettes are based on early Blue Sucker drawings (below). On the left is an 1884 illustration (by HL Todd) of a specimen in the Smithsonian. This drawing was copied and re-used in most publications after that, basically becoming the standard image until replaced by photos in the mid-20th century. The skinny, funny-looking one is based on the earliest image of a Blue Sucker that exists, as far as I can tell. It was drawn by LeSueur and published with his original description of the species (as Catostomus elongatus) in 1817. As he was looking at a dried specimen, his drawing does not look much like a Blue Sucker. I included it for its historical importance.

H. L. Todd's 1884 Cycleptus illustration.

H. L. Todd’s 1884 Cycleptus illustration.

LeSueur's 1817 illustration of a Blue Sucker, which he called Catostomus elongatus.

LeSueur’s 1817 illustration of a Blue Sucker, which he called Catostomus elongatus.

Speaking of LeSueur…

Famous biologists agree: you need a shirt.

Famous biologists agree: you need a shirt.

2016 Roughfish.com June Species Contest

June is my favorite month, and has been ever since I discovered roughfish.com and the annual Spring Species Contest. This will be my 9th species contest. I won’t win (probably) but I’ll catch a lot of fish. If all goes well, I’ll beat all my previous totals by catching more than 30 species between 12:01AM June 1st and 11:59:59PM June 30th.

For the third time, I was allowed to design the button (and shirt) for this year’s contest. I went with an election year Black Buffalo:

2016 Roughfish.com button

2016 Roughfish.com contest shirt

The buffalo is based on a photo I took years ago of a fish I seined with Uland Thomas in a tributary of the Illinois River. I’ve never caught one on hook and line, but my secret reason for putting it on the button this year is that it will provide the mojo I need to catch one.

Two weeks until June. I’m starting to shake and I’m drooling just a little more than usual.

Here is the Bowfin I did for the 2014 contest (http://moxostoma.com/bowfin-for-june-species-contest/):

2014 Roughfish.com button

and here’s the Pumpkinseed I made in 2013 (http://moxostoma.com/2013-roughfish-com-june-species-contest/):

2013 roughfish.com Spring Species Contest button

Halloween Fish Geekery

A few years ago, I created (in photoshop, not pumpkin flesh) a Norther Hog Sucker jack-o-lantern. I’ve felt like a bad person ever since, knowing that a real fish geek would have carved a real fish pumpkin. No longer! This year I bought a pumpkin with the right shape, I kept it inside so squirrels wouldn’t damage it, and I studied gar anatomy. Last night, I hooked up the electrodes to the lightning rods atop the castle and unsheathed the rusty scalpel.

I present the skeletally semi-accurate Jack-gar-lantern! (click for larger version)

Jack-gar-lantern 2015

 

For the curious, here is 2009’s faked Northern Hog Sucker:

Halloween Hogsucker

(I even made a stencil template for it all those years ago. If you’re weird, download the pdf: hogsuckerpumpkinstencil.pdf (367 downloads) )

And, for added geekery, a gen-u-ine Halloween fish: Percina crypta, the Halloween Darter. It lives in the Apalachicola River drainage in Georgia and
Alabama. It is listed as threatened in Georgia and you can’t mess with it in Alabama (see links below). With a name like that, it should be listed as threatening.

Halloween Darter (Percina crypta). Photo by Nate Tessler. http://tinyurl.com/p786nr9

Halloween Darter (Percina crypta). Photo by Nate Tessler. http://tinyurl.com/p786nr9

More info: http://www.fishbase.se/summary/Percina-crypta.html, http://fishesofgeorgia.uga.edu/index.php?page=speciespages/species_page&key=perccryp, http://www.outdooralabama.com/nongame-vertebrates-protected-alabama-regulations

Bowfin for June Species Contest

I got to draw the button (and t-shirt) again this year for the roughfish.com June species contest. Last year I did a pumpkinseed. This year I made a bowfin. (Last weekend I was fishing with Garman and asked what kind of fish he thought I should draw. He said a bowfin would be cool. I ran with it.)

2014 Roughfish.com button

To enter the contest, get an account at roughfish.com, buy the button and/or t-shirt, wait til 12:01AM on June 1st and go fishing. Stop fishing as little as possible. You’ve got 30 days. Each time you catch a new species of fish, take a picture of it and make sure the button (or t-shirt) is in the shot. Post the photos to the site.

Whoever catches the most species wins. (In 2013, it took 43 species to win, while 50 did it in 2012.) The prize is a custom-built fishing rod. Sweet, eh?

There’s also a kids’ division. So far it’s been won by girls both times and I see no reason that will change. My daughter Iris won it the first year and has pledged to fish hard this year in hopes of another trophy.

Redhorse Army, show your allegiance!

There is a new redhorse design for sale in the zazzle store, created in response to a few people who told me that they like the pyramid of redhorse lips, but don’t want to have to explain it all the time.

This time the word REDHORSE is prominently featured (along with an unblinking redhorse eye). I don’t know how much it will help, since I’m asked all the time what “redhorse” means.

A fancier take on the pyramid of lips. Available on shirts, cups, phone cases, etc. at the zazzle store.

Wear the insignia of that most selective branch of the Forces of Truth and Fishing: The Redhorse Army!

Show your allegiance with shirts, water bottles, phone cases, hat, etc.: http://www.zazzle.com/chinookdesign. (True roughfishers start young, so there are baby and kid sizes.)

Le moxôstome doré

I’ve been working on several posts for the moxostoma blog, but none seemed worthy of being the first. This old sucker is just the thing to break that barrier.

1897 color plate of le moxostome dore

From Les poissons d’eau douce du Canada (1897) by A. N. Montpetit. More to come from this book.

(This image is in the public domain because it is too old to be under copyright.)