Tiger Muskellunge (Tiger Muskie)

Esox masquinongy x E. lucius (a hybrid fish)
Esocidae (pikes) in the order Esociformes (mudminnows and pikes)

Like other pikes, this fish has a duckbill-shaped snout, large mouth with many sharp teeth and a single dorsal fin, which is similar in shape and size to the anal fin, and both are positioned far back, near the forked tail fin. As a hybrid of muskellunge and northern pike, it shares characteristics of both its parents, often with some variability. Usually there are vertical dark bars on a lighter background, but sometimes the pattern is more like that of a northern pike, where the body is dark and the markings light. It is deeper-bodied than either muskellunge or northern pike, and the tail fin is more rounded than that of the muskellunge. Also, there are 5-7 pores on each side of the lower jaw, while the muskellunge has 6-9 pores and the northern pike has 5.

Length: to about 4 feet; weight: to about 30 pounds.
Habitat and conservation: 
In Missouri, tiger muskies are stocked in reservoirs and lakes for the pleasure of anglers. Like other pikes, they have an affinity for clear water and dense growths of vegetation. Many fishers consider tiger muskies a special prize, since they are rather difficult to catch.
Like other pikes, this species is carnivorous and hunts by ambush, darting out to seize prey from a place of concealment. Once it grows large enough to eat then, it mainly eats other fishes. As a predator, it plays an important role in regulating the numbers and maintaining the population balance of prey species.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Like the non-native “true” muskellunge, tiger muskies are stocked in various lakes and reservoirs statewide, including the following lakes/counties: Pomme de Terre (Hickory and Polk), Hazel Creek (Adair), Fellows (Green), Henry Sever (Knox) and Lake 35, Busch Conservation Area (St. Charles).
Game fish
Life cycle: 
Tiger muskies, being the hybrid offspring of two different species, are sterile and unable to reproduce. In fact, one of the basic criteria for determining that two animals are indeed separate species is that when they interbreed, their offspring are sterile. Where muskellunge and northern pike occur together, they often interbreed naturally. But tiger muskies are also produced artificially in hatcheries by fish breeders and are then stocked so that people can catch them.
Human connections: 
Tiger muskies are prized for their flesh as well as for the challenge of their capture. The activities involved in their breeding, raising, stocking, monitoring, fishing and related tourism contribute to jobs and the economy.
Ecosystem connections: 
These hybrids play an ecological role similar to that of their parent species. They prey mainly on fish, and therefore limit their populations.
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