Spear Fishing

Comfortable both flying in the air and swimming underwater, the Anhinga is a powerful swimmer that uses its sharp bill to spear fish it chases down underwater.  After catching a fish, the Anhinga will bring it to the surface, flipping its catch in the air off its bill so the fish will fall headfirst into its mouth and down its throat.  This Anhinga has caught a large fish in the Banana River where it has a difficult time consuming it.  But a little effort leads to success, and the luckless fish disappears down the Anhinga’s gullet.

With a full stomach, the Anhinga looks to be a bit heavier in the water.

4 replies »

  1. Bob,

    You have an outstanding series of photos here. The fish that Anhinga is consuming is the Southern Kingfish also known as the Southern Whiting a common sciaenid in the surf, but found spawning in the Banana River Lagoon by Dr. Eric Reyier who is a biologist at KSC. It was part of his dissertation studies years ago.

    It is so interesting to see how the Anhinga speared this fish, the location on the fish and its manipulation to swallow.

    Thank you for sending this one along.


  2. Bob,

    That is a Southern Kingfish (=Whiting), Menticirrhus americanus that is being consumed. Normally an Atlantic beach fish, but spawns in the Banana River Lagoon for some reason.



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