Sheepshead or Convict Fish

Some sheepshead (Sparidae, Archosargus probatocephalus) at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.  Their common name comes from the set of incisor-like teeth visible from the front,  and molar-like teeth visible in the open mouth.

Diving cormorant

A Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocoracidae: Phalacrocorax auritus) quickly swam by a few times while we were snorkeling at Three Sisters Springs.

While in a different family (Anhingidae), Anhinga appear similar and are behaviorally similar to cormorants, and the easiest means to telling the two apart, in my experience, is to look for the more robust, curved bill in the cormorant.

Red-breasted Sunfish

Lepomis auritus (Centrachidae) in Crystal River and Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida.

It was surprising to see abundant sunfish in the brackish, tidally influenced, portion of Crystal River, and I was excited to see that I didn’t know which species it was on-sight. I think these are red-breasted sunfish, a species that may be found in Ohio, but relatively rarely, especially compared to bluegill (L. macrochirus) and green sunfish (L. cyanellus). In fact, the collection of Ohio fish that was used in Vertebrate Zoology at Kent State didn’t include this species.

Manatee calf

A West Indian Manatee calf (Trichechus manatus), probably nearing 2 m in length, casually swims by and circles back towards its mother. In some of the images, the long sensory hairs that uniformly cover the animal’s body are visible.