Predator vs. Prey: Green Heron vs. Bluegill

By | February 1, 2013
From Xplor: February/March 2013

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

Stretchy Neck

More than half a green heron’s length comes from its oversized neck. In a flash, a heron can outstretch its neck to grab or stab a fish using its spear-like beak.

Sleek Blue Streak

A bluegill’s skinny body is built to slice swiftly through water and weave around vegetation.

Lure User

Green herons use bait — such as insects, feathers, or twigs — to lure jittery fish into striking range.

Super Sight

A bluegill can see objects smaller than dust specks from 17 inches away. Spotting something as large as a heron isn’t a problem.

Swim Goggles

Herons have a transparent third eyelid, called a nictitating membrane, that protects their eyes underwater. Grasshopper Bluegill

And the winner is...

This one’s a tossup. Green herons only catch about half the fish they go after. But if the bluegill takes the bait, it’s likely to become sushi.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White