The longear sunfish hasn’t been seen in Iowa waters for more than 80 years.
But it may have recently turned up in the Corn State.
While gathering samples for a fishing clinic in early July, Iowa fisheries biologists caught what they believe is a longear sunfish – a species that’s believed to be extinct in the state.
Fish experts around the country took notice, and have set out to identify the fish.
“If this proves to be a longear sunfish it will be the first time since 1932 the species has been positively identified in Iowa,” said DNR fisheries technician Adam Thiese. “How it got here and where it came from remains to be determined. For those that work in the fisheries field, both state and nationally, anytime an uncommon species can be documented, it’s an exciting discovery.”
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Biologists are currently testing a fin sample from the fish to verify that it’s a longear sunfish. It’s being kept alive until they make a positive identification.
Longear sunfish were once common in the bayous along the Iowa section of the Mississippi River. They are still found in shallow water systems all the way from the Great Lakes region down to northeastern Mexico.
Featured image via Iowa Department of Natural Resources