Headless bowfin appears to be alive

by Megan McPhaden | August 11, 2015

Headless bowfin keeps on moving.

The bowfin is not to be trifled with… especially a headless bowfin.

Located around the periphery of the great lakes, the bowfin has a distinctive bony gular plate underneath its gills. Also known as ‘dogfish’, it is the only species in Ontario with a gular plate – a bony area that lies between the two lower jaws in some primitive bony fish.

In the YouTube video below, the headless bowfin appears to be alive despite being cleaned and missing its head.

“The bowfin is wholly carnivorous, and exceedingly voracious…he is the ravening wolf of the dark lagoons, the nightmare of the slumbrous coves. Skulking in deep water by day, he invades the teeming shallows by night, spreading terror and bloody execution in his wake.” – Havilah Babcock, April 1944

Stimuli such as sodium may be one reason for the disturbing after-death movement. Frogs legs, removed from the frog, have been known to ‘twitch’ when salt is added.

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