The Tables Turned: Fish Eat Mammals More Often Than You Think

The following is from The Nature Conservancy’s “Cool Green Science” blog on a study co-led by new CFL post-doc, Peter Lisi.

A rainbow trout from Togiak National Wildlife Refuge with 20 shrews in its stomach. This is not as isolated an incident as many believe. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

A rainbow trout from Togiak National Wildlife Refuge with 20 shrews in its stomach. This is not as isolated an incident as many believe. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

By Matt Miller, senior science writer, TNC — A shrew, hunting insects along a stream bank, slips into the icy water. It swims frantically to reach shore, using all its energy to stay afloat.

Just as it appears the small critter might make it, an almost imperceptible ripple appears. And then the water explodes. The surface soon calms, but the shrew is gone. Trout food.

Variations on this theme are favorites in fishing lore, and there are plenty of photos that prove this does actually occur.

But how frequently?

A new article appearing in the journal Ecology of Freshwater Fish suggests this answer: more often than you think.

The paper – by coauthors Peter Lisi, Kale Bentley, Jonathan Armstrong and Daniel Schindler – documents the incidence of rainbow trout and grayling over a 13-year period in the Wood River basin, part of the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska. Keep Reading –>