Humans weren't the only ones suffering from the #TexasWinterStorm2021. Thousands of fishes in the shallow Laguna Madre froze to death and are now lining the shorelines. Here are some photos from the Packery Channel. Be warned: dead fish content below ☠️🥶🐟
The most common species along the channel are pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides), a species that ranges from Cape Cod to the Yucatan. The birds seem to love their eyeballs 📌🐟
In second place are hardhead sea catfish (Ariopsis felis), bottom dwelling ariids that have an equally wide distribution. Interestingly, all of them look untouched. Looks like scavengers don't like catfish (can't blame them either) 🐈🐟
The third most common species is a porcupinefish, which was surprising to me. There were hundreds of striped burrfish (Chilomycterus schoepfii) washed up on the shore. They are reported to be sensitive to low temperatures, but the sheer number of them baffled me 🐡🐡🐡
After those three species, numbers got a lot lower for all others. The most abundant of the less common species was the spotted weakfish (or seatrout), Cynoscion nebulosus. Weak indeed.
Next in line are Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber), an unmistakable species that occurs from Massachusetts to Brazil. There were only small individuals, which probably use the channel and lagoon as a nursery. ♠️🐟
After that, abundances got fairly low, but there were a few more species, including some large individuals of honeycomb cowfish, red drum, sheepshead, red snapper and spot. Photos below.
Final counts for a 250m stretch along the mouth of the channel are:

L. rhomboides: 258
A. felis: 212
C. schoepfii: 86
C. nebulosus: 34
C. faber: 14
L. xanthurus: 13
L. griseus: 5
A. polygonius: 5
A. probatocephalus: 3
S. ocellatus: 3

#TexasFreeze #TeamFish

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