Amia calva  Linnaeus, 1766

Bowfin
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Amia calva
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Amiiformes (Bowfins) > Amiidae (Bowfins)
Etymology: Amia: Greek, amia = a kind of shark (Ref. 45335);  calva: calva (Latin) = smooth or 'the bald scalp of the head', probably referring to the smooth appearance of the head of live specimens (Ref. 46234).   More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal.   Temperate; 15°C - 20°C (Ref. 2060); 47°N - 25°N

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 61 - ? cm
Max length : 109 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723); common length : 53.3 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 9.8 kg (Ref. 4699); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 72462)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 42-53; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 9 - 12; Vertebrae: 80 - 90. Branchiostegal rays: 10-12. Body is long and robust. Head is conic, mouth large, with maxillary extending well past eye; jaws wit strong, conical teeth; anterior nostrils at base of short barbels. Dorsal fin origin at 1/3 of total length; anal fin origin at midpoint of dorsal base; pelvic fins inserted at midpoint of body. Pigmentation: Dark olive above combines with lighter color on sides to form reticulated pattern; venter cream or greenish; head yellow to brown with darker horizontal bars; lower fins vivid green; caudal light olive with irregular darker vertical bars. Adult males with prominent yellow to orange bordered black spot at upper caudal base, less intense or absent in females.

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain drainage of Quebec and Vermont west across southern Ontario to the Mississippi drainage in Minnesota.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found in swampy, vegetated lakes and rivers (Ref. 10294, 46234). Air-breather that can withstand high temperatures, which enables it to survive in stagnant areas; even known to aestivate; lethal temperature is 35.2°C (Ref. 46234). A voracious and opportunist feeder, it subsists on fishes including other sport fishes, frogs, crayfish, insects, and shrimps. It uses scent as much as sight and captures food by means of gulping water. Males are always smaller than females which live longer. Apparently somewhat migratory during spawning season (Ref. 4639). Eggs are adhesive, attached to decaying vegetation and upright weeds (Ref. 4639). Larvae are found in nest, remaining attached to roots or lying on bottom until adhesive organ is absorbed, thereafter in tight "swarm" guarded by male parent outside nest (Ref. 4639). A 'living fossil' and lone survivor species of Family Amiidae.

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Males build and guard nest and young, usually nesting in colonies, and clearing out vegetation for the nest (Refs. 205, 34296, 34297, 3672). Most active at twilight and dawn (Ref. 34297); spawn at night (Ref. 34296). Eggs hatch in 9 days; newly hatched young measuring 8 mm (Ref. 34297).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 2.0000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00437 (0.00168 - 0.01136), b=3.12 (2.89 - 3.35), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.8   ±0.67 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.14; tm=3-5; tmax=12; Fec=23,600).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (50 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.