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Sunday, March 05, 2006

A "Fishy" Mystery

This is a tough one. I don't expect you to get the complete answer, but I will give you some clues and ask you to make this an ART MYSTERY CREATURE. This is the first of your vertebrates, meaning it is an animal with a backbone. This creature has sharp teeth, as you can tell. When alive, it can swim and has fins. Two long fins on its back would help you with its exact identity. Its skull is made of bone, not cartilage. One of the largest Pacific Northwest bony fish, it grows to 5 feet in length. It is a favorite food of sea lions and people. It lives on and near the sea floor and likes to eat octopus and other fish.
The artful part of this:
Can you draw a picture of what you think this sea creature looks like?
From the shore, Ron

This drawing, by Cara,is one of the pictures that were created in response to this mystery.


At March 06, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...

Since no one has solved this mystery yet, I say, ask some of the older kids at Eastview! Do you think any of them might know who this skull belongs to?

At March 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ron,
We will tell you what we know the creature cannot be. Sometimes solving a mystery is also knowing what something can NOT be.
It cannot be a Moray Eel because Morays live in coral reefs, and you live in colder waters north of reefs.
It cannot be a shark, because it is a bony fish. Sharks have cartilage.
It cannot be a sturgeon, because sturgeons do not have the two fins on the back.
It cannot be a salmon or catfish because we looked at photos of these.
We think we may know the type of fish, but want others to guess.
Mrs. Newton's class

At March 07, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...

Mrs Newton's Class

Every fish identification book has what is called, a "Key". In that key, you are given choices to lead you to the identification of the . What you have done is to build your own key, deciding what this is NOT, then going on to find what it might be. Great work!

I especially like that you ruled out sharks right away, knowing they have cartilage and this fish has bones. That is the very first step in any good fish key. Sharks and rays have cartilage, other fish are filled with bones.

This one has some big bones. It is a strong fish and a tasty one too! I often catch small, beautifully colored relatives of this fish with kids when we use nets to study the shallow edge of the sea. Last week, sticky clusters of eggs from this fish washed up on the shore, a common site in spring!

Happy Spring! Ron

At March 13, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...

Aloha Artists!

I received your great illustrations of Fish Mystery today. These are really good. I like how you thought about the clues and drew what you imagined. I especially liked how so many of you included the octopus meal!

This weekend, I attended a fishing workshop. I spent time talking with a man who lives in Tofino, British Columbia. He told me that he catches this fish by flyfishing! So I now have a new challenge and am going to try to catch one with a fly. I will tie a small imitation of an octopus and cast it out to sea!

Fishing for Mystery Fish, Ron

At March 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eastview 6th grade Morgan I think I might know what it is, is it a Viperfish?

At March 22, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...


That's an excellent guess. It kind of looks like one, but this is a much more massively built fish. Also, if it helps, this fish can live in very shallow water and often lays its eggs as close to shore as ten or twenty feet.

Have fun! Ron

At March 22, 2006, Anonymous ron hirschi said...


You might want to check out the eraser stamp I made for Mrs Newton....that might give you some new clues.......

Artfully, Ron


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