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Encyclopedia > Pike (fish)
Esox

Northern pike (E. lucius)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Esociformes
Family: Esocidae
Genus: Esox
Species

 E. americanus
      grass and redfin pickerels
 E. lucius – northern pike
 E. masquinongy – muskellunge
 E. niger – chain pickerel
 E. reichertii – Amur pike


Esox Linnaeus, 1758, is a genus of freshwater fish, the only member of the pike family (family Esocidae) of order Esociformes. The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike. The species of this genus are known as the pikes.


The pike species are native to the Palearctic and Nearctic ecozones, ranging across northern North America and from Western Europe to Siberia in Eurasia.


Pikes can grow to a maximum recorded length of 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), reaching a maximum recorded weight of 35 kg (77 lb). Individuals have been reported to reach 30 years in age. They have the elongated, torpedo-like form of predatory fishes, with sharply-pointed heads and sharp teeth. Their coloration is typically grey-green with a mottled or spotted appearance.


The pikes are notoriously voracious carnivores and can be potential pests when introduced into alien ecosystems. They are prized as gamefish for their determined fighting and have been food fish since ancient times. (See Fishing for pike.)


Name

The generic name Esox derives from the Greek ίσοξ (a kind of fish), itself a word of Celtic origin related to the Welsh og and Irish Gaelic iach (salmon). Pliny uses the Latin form esox in reference to a large fish in the Rhine normally identified with lax (salmon). It is likely that Linnaeus's application of Esox to the pikes is thus a misnomer.

Enlarge
A young E. lucius specimen – a "pickerel" in the original sense – in an aquarium.

The English common name "pike" is an apparent shortening of "pike-fish", in reference to its pointed head, Old English pc originally referring to a pickaxe.


A northern English and Scottish name for the pike, ged, similarly derives from Old Norse gaddr (spike).


The English "pike" originally referred specifically to the adult fish, the diminuitive form "pickerel" (now used to name some of the smaller pikes, E. americanus and E. niger) referring to the young. The walleye (Sander vitreus) is sometimes called a pickerel, but it is unrelated to the pikes, being a member of the perch family (family Percidae). The pikes are not to be confused with the unrelated pikeminnows (formerly known as "squawfish") of genus Ptychocheilus (family Cyprinidae).


Two United States Navy submarines have been named Pike, SS-6 of 1903 and SS-173 of 1935, and three, SS-22 of 1912, SS-177 of 1936, and SS-524 of 1944, named Pickerel. In addition, the Soviet submarines known to NATO as the Victor III class were called the Shchuka (Щука, "pike") class, in Russian. The Soviet Iosef Stalin tank (IS-3) was also nicknamed Shchuka, in reference to its sharply pointed hull front.




References

  • "Esox" (http://www.fishbase.org/Eschmeyer/GeneraSummary.cfm?ID=Esox). FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. October 2004 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2004.
  • "Esox" (TSN 162138) (http://www.itis.usda.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=162138). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. N.p.: Integrated Taxonomic Information System, 2004. Accessed on 5 December 2004.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, s.vv. "Esox", "Ged1", and "Pike, n.4".

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ontario Pike Fishing (920 words)
Fishing for trophy Northern Pike south-east of Dryden and south-west of Ignace Ontario
Pike fishing on Lake of the Woods and Shoal Lake Pike Fishing.
Northern Pike fishing in Chapleau on Wagoon Lake Ontario.
Spring Pike Fly Fishing (1650 words)
The different part to fishing for pike is that although there are many pike lakes located in the vast secluded national forest, many of the local area lakes within a few minutes drive from towns and cities are great pike fisheries.
Pike hate to have a bait fish slip from their powerful jaws so imitating a baitfish making a "getaway" is usually a good way to get pike to open up and take a bite.
Pike do not spool out excessive amount of line while being fought on fly rods but with the possibility of hooking a trophy pike is present you probably could use the peace of mind of having a little extra line.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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