Earlier this fall (September 2014) during a routine survey on the lookout for Asian carp (Bighead and Silver Carps), Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists instead found a Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) in the North Branch Channel of the Chicago River. This marked the first finding of the species in the Chicago Area Waterways System (CAWS), and northwestern-most occurrence of the species in Illinois (and the Great Lakes region).
As you can imagine, we were quite excited to get involved and expound upon the implications of this find! In preparation for an upcoming more detailed commentary and new entries (finally!), we are posting some links to the media accounts of the find, as well as the National Geographic blog by Primitive Fishes author Solomon David. More to come!
Spotted Gar Discovered for the First Time in Chicago Waters
Primitive fish found for first time in Chicago waterway
Could lone spotted gar be a harbinger of clearer water?
Voices | More spotted gar info
CBS Chicago WBBM Radio:
Biologists Find Spotted Gar for First Time in Chicago Area Waterways
National Geographic Newswatch:
Gar Spotted in the Windy City: First Occurrence of the Primitive Fish