Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Shedding Some White Light

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White bass and white perch look similar. Monday I was getting worried that the pros at the Shedd Aquarium had a major brain cramp.

I had the kids, all four of them by myself at the Shedd. We finished with the invasives display. The bighead carp are impressively large and ugly. Then I saw what I first thought was white perch, an invasive making inroads in recent years, but looked closer and realized they were white bass, a native fish.

What were white bass doing in the invasives exhibit?

Senior aquarist Kurt Hettiger was happy to answer. (BTW, I have a great job, but Hettiger seems to enjoy his as much as I do mine.)

``There is a simple answer to that, we didn't have room to put them any place else. They require a ton of room and these are pretty big guys. Also, if you look at the ID signs, it should say the range and if they are invasive or not. Invasives can create situations where only 1 or 2 native species survive the area, others have been extirpated.''

It's a great week at the Shedd . . . general admission is free through Feb. 22. (Admission to both the Oceanarium and Wild Reef is available for an additional fee.)

I love the Shedd. My family loves the Shedd. But you know this is coming, I have one small suggestion, pump up the exhibit of area fish.

The bowfin (dogfish) are nice, but how about some 50-pound flathead catfish, a 40-pound blue catfish or a 25-pound muskie, displayed more prominently.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 19, 2008 8:47 AM.

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