From Xplor for Kids
April 2012 Issue

Predator vs. Prey: Bass vs. Crayfish

Publish Date

Apr 01, 2012

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

Keen Eyes

Bass see in every direction except directly behind and below. Plus, their eyes gather light five times better than yours, so hunting in shadowy water is no problem.

Distant Touch

A row of nerve cells called a lateral line runs along each side of a bass. It detects waves in the water, allowing bass to feel things without actually touching them. The lateral line is so sensitive, bass can detect crayfish 20 feet away.

Pinchy Pincers

Crayfish use claw-like pincers to snare food and deliver painful pinches to predators who get too close.

Big Mouth

A smallmouth’s maw isn’t small. Fully opened, it’s wider than the fish’s body. When a bass opens wide, water rushes in, sucking anything nearby inside, too.

Backward Blast

Crayfish use their fan-shaped tails like canoe paddles. By squeezing their tummy muscles, crayfish can swoosh backwards at nearly 25 miles per hour

Camouflaged Armor

A crayfish’s exoskeleton is like armor and blends in perfectly with rocky streambeds.

And the winner is...

Smallmouths often pass on large, feisty crayfish, but gobble small ones every chance they get. Unless this shrimpy crawdad can dart under a rock, it’s bass bait.

Also in this issue

You Discover

April and May are Goldilocks months—not too hot nor too cold. Wildflowers pop up, songbirds migrate, and fish finally find their appetites. Here are just a few things to discover.

How To: Make a Turkey Call

In April and May, male turkeys gobble and show off to attract a mate. While their minds are preoccupied with finding girlfriends, gobblers can be lured in close by mimicking the sounds of a lovesick hen.

Giants of the Night

The moth flutters silently, mysteriously through the night. Her wings are impossibly large and glow green like an emerald in pale moonlight. She is a luna moth, named for the moon, for the night, and on this, her last evening on Earth, she’s searching for a place to lay her eggs.

The Adventures of Bionic Bird and Robo-Deer

Most hunters obey the law. When they don’t, conservation agents are pros at catching them. But to bust some poachers, conservation agents need a little help. That’s where we come in.

Wild Jobs: Collared-Lizard Researcher Amy Conley

Collared-lizard researcher Amy Conley snares skittish reptiles with a lasso of dental floss.

Strange But True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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