The brook floater mussel

The brook floater mussel

SUSIE SPIKOL Freshwater mussels are not exactly charismatic. They don’t flit gracefully about like a Karner blue butterfly or munch on clover like a cottontail. They aren’t known for their sweet songs like a wood thrush, and they don’t close down traffic on the first rainy night of spring like spotted salamanders. They are fish… Read More »

The humble hornpout: a bottom-feeding delicacy

The humble hornpout: a bottom-feeding delicacy

JOE RANKIN Consider, for a second, a fish that can live in turbid, low-oxygen water. It can breathe through its skin, eats almost anything, has a wickedly effective defense mechanism and is a really focused parent. Plus, it’s good to eat. We’re talking about the humble hornpout, or “horned pout,” if you prefer. Or “mud… Read More »

Fish scales and the American shad

Fish scales and the American shad

TIM TRAVER It’s tempting to simply view fish scales as armor, but there’s more to them than that. They provide camouflage; they also play a role in locomotion. For sci-entists working on the recovery of American shad in the Connecticut River, scales provide a record of a fish’s life history and a way to measure… Read More »

Visiting a floodplain forest in the springtime

Visiting a floodplain forest in the springtime

SUSAN SHEA Visiting a forest along one of our major rivers, such as the Connecticut River, in late spring, is like entering a special world. Big silver maples tower overhead, with arching branches and roots reaching deep underground. Cottonwoods up to 5 feet in diameter and vase-shaped American elms are scattered about. Scars on the… Read More »

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