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Pike

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Pike
Top pike.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species

Pike like all other water dwelling creatures was created on the fifth day of creation. Pike are vicious hunters with their very name meaning pickaxe [1].

Anatomy

by helti

Pike are between 18 inches and 6 feet long [2] (45cm - 180cm) and weigh up to 75-80 pounds (35 kilograms) [3]. Pike have a long narrow body with a rear dorsal fin, a pointy nose and lots of teeth [4]. Pike are generally long and cylindrical with their nose tapering to a missile point. Each fin is small and located near the posterior of the fish or on the ventral side of its body.

Chain pickerel

The chain pickerel weighs from sixteen to thirty two ounces and are about seventeen inches long [5]. Some distinguishing markings are the green and bronze coloring and a dark bar underneath each eye [6]. Chain pickerel lay their eggs early so that their young may feed upon the young of other fish which lay their eggs later [7].

Northern Pike

A Northern Pike

Northern pike may grow to over forty pounds [8]. A distinguishing feature of the northern pike is that the bottom half of the gill slits are scaleless [9]. Their coloration scheme is dark green and brown [10]. Northern pike spawn in flooded marshes just after the ice melts [11].

Reproduction

Pikes reproduce sexually, through spawning, but the temperature must be between 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit for this to occur[12]. It takes 12 to 14 days for the pike to hatch, and by fall are about six inches long but will only reach sexual maturity after three years [13]. Unlike other fish, pike give no protection or parental guardianship to their young [14].

Ecology

Neil Wykes took a picture of an ideal stream pike could be in

Pike live in shallow, clear waters as well as streams with few weeds[15]. Even in catch and release fishing, pike have been known to be vicious.

[16] Pike are important to their environment. They keep other fish populations down so there is not too much impact on the flora or other finely tuned balances in the aquatic realm. Surprisingly, pike are a self regulating species, because large pike eat smaller pike.

The Food Chain

Pike caught frog.jpg

Pike are carnivorous and eat a wide variety of food. They consume 3 to 4 time their own weight in a year [17] and may swallow fish a third their own length [18]. The main things that eat pike are humans and other pike.

Pike normally prey on insects and smaller fish such as minnows and perch as well as other pike [19] but mostly favor cylindrically shaped fish [20]. Strangely, 20% of pike's diet consists of cannibalized pike [21]. They will even eat fowl and water logged mammals such as baby ducks and mice or other rodents. [22].

Gallery

References