Chain pickerel

characteristics

COMMON NAME

Chain Pickerel

Scientific name

Esox niger

LENGTH

2-3 feet

DIET

Mostly fish, but will also eat crayfish, frogs, mice, and salamanders.

FISH DESCRIPTION

Family: Esocidae (pike and muskie)

Distinguishing features: Pickerel are long slender fish with elongated spots that form a chain-like pattern along side. They will also have a dark stripe downward through the eye. Juveniles will have a stripe along the body instead of the adult patterning. At first glance the elongated body might resemble a gar or needlefish, but the beautiful pattern and duck-billed face are unique.

Range, habitat and behavior: Found all across the gulf and east coasts of North America and throughout Florida. Ambush hunters, pickerel will likely be found alone rather than in groups, hiding motionless in vegetation.

Diet: Mostly fish, but will also eat crayfish, frogs, mice, and salamanders. 

Fun facts: Also known as “jack” or “jackfish”. 

Chain pickerel are ambush feeders, and will wait motionless hiding in vegetation until it’s time to strike.

 

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