Muskellunges and Friends

     Muskellunges are usually ecologically misunderstood organisms. Some anglers assume Muskellunges eat every other organism in the ecosystem, however this is not true for several reasons. The first, and most important, is that Muskellunges are very rare in lakes and rivers. They are very territorial animals and do notA less extreme case of Lymphosarcoma like to infringe on each other's space. For this reason, Muskellunges do not suppress prey population. The typical boom-bust growth curves in predator/prey relations do not really apply to Muskellunges, although they are excellent predators. The fact of the matter is that their population in any one ecosystem is not significant to drastically affect their prey. However the rumors are true, Muskellunges are mostly know as sift predators--which they are. They feed on a variety of other species, sometimes as bizarre as cats or dogs, however in regard to Northern Pike, they are relatively selective eaters.Muskellunge with Lymphosarocoma near dorsal fin
    But, Muskellunges don't just dominate their ecosystem; they also have several organism to watch out for. In a Muskellunge's life, like most organisms, it is most vulnerable shortly after birth. This is because of the close relative, Esox lucius, and their spawning time.  Esox lucius usually spawn about 2 weeks before Muskellunges. Therefore, when a Northern Pike's jaws are developed (around the second week of maturation) they are ready to begin predation of Muskellunges. In these vulnerable times, Muskellunges often fall victim to  Esox lucius predation. However, Muskellunge's also have an enemy to watch out for, for more information please visit
. Another harmful interaction between Muskellunge and another organism is the virus that causes Lymphosarcoma. There is veryLymphosarcoma in Escoid little known about the infection and its origin is still being researched. The symptoms are a golf ball sized, red bump on the side of the Muskellunge. The disease is most commonly contracted around the time of spawning. It is believed to be this time because the infection spreads from skin to skin contact. The disease is more common in cooler waters, however it has been found in various temperatures. Due to the lack of knowledge of the virus, consumption of Escoids with this is disease is highly discouraged. A parasite Escoids have to watch out for is Diphyllobothrium spp. This tapeworm is around 1 inch in length and lives in the muscles of Escoids, and other fish species. However, if ingested by a human the worm can grow in the stomach. The symptoms usually include nausea and dizziness. A 'new' parasite to Escoids is  Heterosporis sp.; it usually infects yellow perch and has actually began to infect Escoids . The muscles of infected fish appear white. Another parasite of Escoids is a larval roundworm which forms golden brown cysts on the organs of fish. This organisms may be able to ride the biological magnification title wave into humans, so consumption is highly discouraged. The affects of HeterosporisFor other sweet info, click here