On Thursday, we tweeted this week’s #FishInThePost question: ‘Which Welsh fish species has a class of submarines named after it?’. We had several great, and informed guesses about which species we were referring too. Follower, Brendan Wringe, mentioned the submarine class in the United Kingdom that is named Stickleback, and while it is correct that Stickleback do live in Welsh waters, it was not the fish species that we had mind this week. Below we share this week’s species and some interesting information about it both here in Wales, and abroad, because it is a very broadly ranging fish species that lives in, and is native to, parts of Europe, North America, and Asia.
This week’s #FishInThePost species, is Esox lucius aka Pike. As we noted above, Pike are pretty well known around the world, not only because of their broad natural range, but also because they have been spread elsewhere by humans. Across their range, Pike are important to humans for food, and other cultural values (e.g., sport fishing, festivals). These predatory fish can grow up to 1.5 meters long. Pike lie in wait for prey, being still for long periods, and then ambush their prey as they strike with remarkable acceleration. The largest specimen caught in the United Kingdom to date was found in 1992 in a lake in Wales: it weighed in at just over 21kg. Because of their size and predatory nature there are many stories about Pike, including modern stories, and videos, like this one of a Pike stalking and taking a Mallard ducking: https://youtu.be/b-BxA3YgVHY?t=41.
The elongated shape and stealth-like behaviour of the fish species, could also be why several submarines, and submarine classes, have been given their name. In Russia, several classes of submarine are named Shchuka (aka Pike), and two submarines owned by the United States of America also hold the name Pike (3 separate submarines in USA hold the related name Pickerel).
Finally, what about Pike’s conservation status? In their natural range, the species is listed as Least Concern, and populations are reported to be stable. The next time you find yourself near a lake, wetland, or shallow slow-moving, fairly well vegetated river, stop for a moment and see if you can spot a Pike patiently waiting for its next meal to swim by.
Thanks for joining the second edition of #FishInThePost! We look forward to posting off the Pike! Stay tuned for our next fishy post on 15 November!