In honor of an Ichthyology exam I probably failed today, I thought I’d share what such an exam entails:
30-40 dead fish, which our TA must sprinkle with alcohol every half-hour to keep them “fresh.” During the test, we hop from one seat to the next, identifying each specimen by its Latin name. It involves counting scales and recalling which minnow has a dorsal fin in front of its pelvic fin. Sometimes this process is spiced up by a question such as, “what does this fish eat?” Thrilling.
Ok, so really this part is tedious. But the process of learning about fish diversity, especially in our own backyards, is really fun! I have a couple of new favorite fish, and I can impress all my friends at parties by explaining fin functions at parties. And now, with this personal gallery of 59 pictures of preserved fish specimens, you can, too! But really, if you’re interested, check out The Fishes of Missouri by William L Pflieger. The book is no longer in print, but the University Bookstore custom prints them for the spring class. Happy fishing!
Photos all taken from Ichthyology lab specimens at the University of Missouri.