|The Central Florida Region
hosted a three day collecting trip to Mobile Bay, Alabama and northern
Florida, October 5th through the 8th, 2012. Our traditional “Spring
Fling”, normally conducted in April or May each year could not come
together in 2012, and this weighed heavily on the group.
Commiserating at a summer meeting of the Suncoast Killifish group, the NANFA guys seized the moment and quickly organized a weekend trip. Joe Scanlan, our member from Alabama quickly agreed to meet us and guide the group through the collectable habitats in Mobile Bay.
Two groups, one from Tampa Bay in central Florida and the other from the Jacksonville area on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida, rallied Friday evening west of Tallahassee. Never missing a moment to get wet, collections were made at Hammock Lake and Telogia Creek on the way to the meeting site. We also stopped to photograph the wonderful carnivorous plants found at a unique site in Hosford that features a concentration of several species of these unusual plants.
An early start on Saturday allowed us to collect at several sites in the western Florida panhandle on our way to Alabama. After this productive run, we arrived in Alabama Saturday evening for a great Mexican dinner, followed by the normal sorting and evaluation of the days catch.
A cold and windy Sunday morning greeted us on the shore of Mobile Bay, making our first collecting of the day somewhat uncomfortable. However, snagging the interesting saltwater killifish Adinia xenica made it all worthwhile. Sunday also produced our most unusual site. This small runoff, no more than and foot and a half wide, and less than 4” deep produced many beautiful fish, including an unusually marked Elassoma evergladei and a bright red-finned Fundulus cingulatus.
The trip back to the Tallahassee area completed our Sunday activities and prepared us for the long trip back to Tampa Bay and Jacksonville on Monday. The wonderful and productive Wacissa Springs was visited on the way home Monday, and once again, did not disappoint. Elassoma gilberti and the beautifully colored Lucania goodei, a personal favorite of mine, were found in abundance. As always, these were augmented by several other species commonly found at this beautiful site. And so ended another memorable collecting trip, and starting our thinking for the next one or two sure to follow in 2013.
Statistics: Florida Sites visited: 8. Alabama sites: 3. Round trip from Tampa Bay: 1,157 miles.
Species collected: 31: Adinia xenica, Aphredoderus sayanus, Chaenogobius gulosus, Cyprinodon variegatus variegatus, Elassoma gilberti, Elassoma evergladei, Elassoma okefenokee, Elassoma zonatum, Enneacanthus gloriosus, Erimyzon sucetta, Esox niger, Eth. Fusiforme, Etheostoma colorosum, Etheostoma edwini, Etheostoma fusiforme, Fundulus blairae, Fundulus cingulatus, Fundulus escambiae, Fundulus olivaceus, Fundulus pulvereus, Gambusia affinis holbrooki, Heterandria formosa, Labidesthes sicculus, Lepomis marginatus, Lepomis punctatum, Leptolucania ommata, Lucania goodei, Percina nicrofasciata, Poecilia latipinna, Pteronotropis hypselopterus and Pteronotropis signipinnis.