Tessa's Tête-à-Tête
A disembodied photo of my head. (Normally, I try to keep my head on my shoulders!)
Hello - thank you for
taking the time to visit
my Blog. Please feel free
to add your comment to
any entry via the 'post
your comment' link......
Come back soon.

*SPAM Comments*
N.B. These will be deleted!

I'm Fund-Raising
with Oxfam UK

Help me to buy a Camel
for a Community in Need
links to a secure site for donations
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
        Access Archives
« August 2005 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
via the Calendar or view...
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Blog Moved
Family Days Out
Festive Season
Films and TV
Health Issues
In the News
Music and Art
My Web Pages
Nature and Our World
Poetry and Poets
Recipes and Food
Special Days
Web Design
Print A Recipe
Brandy Pudding
New England Plum Pudding

On My Website:
Marthe Janssen-Leyder
About Me
The Airman's Story

• Excelent Read •
World War II History
Forced to parachute to safety, Douglas Jennings was helped by the Belgian Secret Army
by Douglas Jennings the RAF Air Bomber featured on my website
Book Details AND
How to Order

My Blog List
An Englishman's Castle
A Product of the 80's
Baghdad Burning
Blognor Regis Cancergiggles
Daily Iraqi Cheese Grader
Jamie's Big Voice
Jonzo's Rantings
The Loom
My Big Trip Blog
Moniales OP
Random Acts of Reality
Re. Tired (Joanna's Blog)
Stephen Pollard
Stu Savory's Blog
The Gray Monk
The Pope Blog

Useful Websites
Dan's Web Tips
HTML Goodies
Lynx Viewer
Rogue Anti-Spyware
Shields Up
Webmonkey Tools

About Chichester
(My Home Town)

Roman Chichester
A Brief History
Chichester Cathedral
Weather Forecast

the old Market Cross in Chichester, West Sussex
Near Chichester
Bosham Village
Boxgrove Priory
Roman Palace
Open Air Museum

Recent Posts:
September 2005


Battle of Britain

Fertility Treatment

The Plumber's Tale of Woe

Learning to Read and Write

Bureaucracy Gone Mad

What is Really Happening in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina

The Tooth Fairy Forgot to Come!!!

August 2005

More Surgery!"

How I Met Michael Rennie (1909-1971)

"The Sixth Lamentation" - An Excellent Book

French Onions

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

I'm Recovering Well

Well, I'm Glad That's Over!

Just Me Prattling

The Russian Mini-Submarine

Amazing Animals: The Sturgeon

The Tower Subway

Surgical Pre-Assessment

July 2005

The Coal Delivery

Spyware and Anti-spyware"

Getting Enough Sleep?

An Insidious Cancer

Americans First on the Moon

"The Lion King"

Update on my Biopsy

Have I had my Head Buried in the Sand?


Animal Intelligence

Fl./Lt. Dennis G. Hornsey, D.F.C.

The English Language

London Bombs

Marriage Advice?

My Biopsy

A Message for the World's Leaders

June 2005


A 'Perfect' Day

Amazing Animals: The Emperor Penguin

Crowned on this Day in 1509

A Sweet for a Special Occasion

King Solomon's Mines

Father's Day

Tiger, Tiger....


Cockroaches and Human Fertility

World's Best Character Actor

Computer Decisions

Food for Thought


World Ocean Day

Daft as a Brush (or Two)

Douglas Jennings, RAF Evader During WW II

Lord of the Rings

Driving Me Mad

You are not logged in. Log in

Map of the United Kingdom
This confuses the Spam harvesters

Unique Hits
hit counters
Free Counter added
5th December 2004

Sponsor Link
Baby Stores

Free JavaScripts on this page from

Saturday, 6 August 2005
Amazing Animals: The Sturgeon
(No. 4 in my series)

Now Playing: The Song of Hiawatha
Topic: Nature and Our World
My father once gave me a beautifully illustrated leather-bound book of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poems. It was old and the cover was falling apart but I took it to school as we were studying poetry in the sixth form. Stupidly, I allowed myself to be persuaded to lend it to another girl towards the end of term - and that was the last I ever saw of my book!   I particularly loved, "The Song of Hiawatha", and that was where I first learnt about the sturgeon, that most ancient of fishes:-
Hiawatha in his birch canoe
    On the white sand of the bottom
Lay the monster Mishe-Nahma,
Lay the sturgeon, King of Fishes;
Through his gills he breathed the water,
With his fins he fanned and winnowed,
With his tail he swept the sand-floor.
    There he lay in all his armor;
On each side a shield to guard him,
Plates of bone upon his forehead,
Down his sides and back and shoulders
Plates of bone with spines projecting
Painted was he with his war-paints,
Stripes of yellow, red, and azure,
Spots of brown and spots of sable;
And he lay there on the bottom,
Fanning with his fins of purple,
As above him Hiawatha
In his birch canoe came sailing,
With his fishing-line of cedar.

Extract from Part VIII Hiawatha's Fishing
Hiawatha's 'Mishe-Nahma' was the North American Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) which, despite its name is actually a river fish. Found mainly in Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior, it once ranged widely throughout the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Hudson River. Gelatine from its swim bladder was used in the past for making isinglass, a semi-transparent substance which was widely employed commercially for clarifying jams, jellies and alcoholic drinks, as a size for handmade paper and in the making of isinglass windows for carriages and early cars. Its skin was made into leather and its meat and eggs sold commercially.

Sturgeon belong to the order of Acipenseriforms, family Acipenseridae. There are twenty-seven living species - all in the Northern Hemisphere and all in serious decline. According to WildAid, only three of the species is not critically endangered or endangered due to the demand for caviar. This is a sad state of affairs as, together with their cousins, the Paddlefish, Sturgeon are the only survivors of an ancient group of fishes from the Upper Cretaceous period (135-200 million years ago) which, with five extinct species, formed the infraclass Chondostrei. These ancient 'living fish fossils' are, therefore, one of the oldest vertebrates on Earth. The sturgeon is also the largest of freshwater fishes and the longest lived. The greatest recorded age was 154 years for a Lake sturgeon caught in 1953.

The Sturgeon's heterocercal tailSome Sturgeon live in the sea but migrate to freshwater to breed (anadromous) and others live entirely in freshwater. These primitive fish have an almost entirely cartilaginous endoskeleton with a flexible cartilaginous rod called a notochord running down the back instead of a backbone. They have heavy tube-like bodies with five rows of large bony plates or scutes along their sides instead of scales and, in common with many other primitive fish, they have an asymmetrical (heterocercal) caudal fin or tail.

Sturgeon have short, highly sensitive fleshy barbels on their slightly flattened upturned snouts which they use to find a wide variety of food including insect larvae, bottom-dwelling worms, shrimp, small fish and molluscs such as crayfish, clams, and snails. These are sucked up through their large toothless mouths which they can extend into a funnel-shape. Both anadromous and freshwater species cease feeding during the spawning season. It takes a long time, anything between 8-25 years (depending on the species), for females to reach sexual maturity and then spawning will only occur every 2-4 years or more. Their slow growth and infrequent spawning make it extremely difficult for this animal to recover from decline. Together with over-fishing and degradation of habitat, this is one of the reasons why these amazing fish have become so endangered. When they do spawn, eggs are produced in millions - some three million in the Atlantic sturgeon and up to seven million in the Beluga sturgeon. The eggs are highly adhesive and attach to vegetation or stones. Hatching takes about one week. Growth is probably quite rapid for the first five years providing the hatchlings survive, which not many do.

The Beluga (Huso husa), is found principally in the Caspian Sea with spawning occurring mainly in the Volga River and also in the Black, Azov, and Adriatic Seas, as well as the Dnepr and Danube rivers. However, access to the old spawning grounds has been blocked since the building of the Volgograd Dam, (note: from 1925-61, Volgograd was known as Stalingrad). Beluga can live up to 100 years or more and it is the largest sturgeon in the world, and probably the most famous because its roe (unfertilized eggs) is highly prized as caviar. Beluga can reach lengths up to 30 feet and can weigh up to 2000 pounds; one fish, caught in 1926, weighed 2,200lbs (over 1,000kg) and yielded 396lb (180kg) of caviar - it was estimated to be at least 75 years old. Nowadays, fish are much smaller because the 'old' population has been exterminated by over-fishing and poaching.

Without commercial hatcheries, the Beluga would probably be extinct today. Interestingly, some aquaculturists have been developing methods to surgically remove eggs without killing the fish - a piscine 'caesarean'! However, many fish still die after this operation and more research is needed. I hope you don't eat caviar but, if you must, then please purchase your supply from an outlet which supports conservation and ecologically sound harvesting.

Posted by Noviomagus at 16:52 BST Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Sunday, 7 August 2005 - 00:45 BST

Name: Joanna

Sturgeon are safe from at least me...too unsophisticated probably. There are enough really good-to-eat things readily available that I have never had to survive by searching out drech like tiny, over-salted fish eggs. Pizza...mmmm. Chocolate ice cream....mmmm. Roast beef...mmmm. Fish eggs...why???.

Sunday, 7 August 2005 - 11:25 BST

Name: Tessa

Exactly my thoughts! I even scrape off the roe from tinned pilchards as I don't fancy eating it.

Sunday, 7 August 2005 - 18:10 BST

Name: Stu Savory
Home Page:

"By the shores of Gitchee-Gumee
By the shining big sea water..."

How pleasantly surprised I was when driving a long the shore of the Olympic Peninsula to find that there really is a village called Gitchee Gumee (SP?) on the shoreline there.


Monday, 8 August 2005 - 00:54 BST

Name: Tessa

That's interesting! I suppose a lot of Indian names are used in some of the national parks. Certainly Longfellow's marvellous poem, made the legends of the Ojibwa/Chippewa/Algonquin tribes very famous and also portrayed them as human beings.

View Latest Entries