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Longear Sunfish Mysteriously Rediscovered in Iowa, First Sighting in 80 Years

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Longear Sunfish Mysteriously Rediscovered in Iowa, First Sighting in 80 Years

The three fish found at the hatchery remain in an aquarium while researchers investigate their sudden reappearance.

Biologists in Iowa are perplexed after a collection of fish pulled from hatchery ponds on the Mississippi River last month included a longear sunfish —- a species that hadn’t been seen in Iowa for more than 80 years, according to The Republic.

The man who made the initial discovery, Iowa Department of Natural Resources technician Adam Thiese, was collecting fish for an educational program from ponds used to hatch and raise fish (like bass and bluegill) that are later disbursed to the state’s lakes and rivers. Then, when staff members drained a different hatchery pond, they found two more male longear sunfish.

“There’s quite a bit of excitement about it,” Thiese said. “It’s a fish we haven’t documented in Iowa here since 1932 so as far as distribution of the longear sunfish it’s a pretty big deal. As far as Iowa fisheries goes it’s a pretty big deal.”

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