Quillbacks get their name from the venomous and sharp quills or spines on their dorsal fin. They are popular as a sport fish. They usually get caught in deep and cold water by bottom fishing with jigging. Commonly known as brown bomber or orange-spotted rockfish or simply rock fish. Its scientific name is Carpiodes cyprinus Quillbacks are kept on display in public aquariums.
Physical features :
Quillback carpsuckers have a small terminal ending just below tip of mouth. The back side is moderately arched and the lateral line is straight. They are silver in color on the sides with a white stomach and the lower fins are orange or yellow. Both tale and dorsal fins are gray and silver in color. There are mainly two subspecies of quilback carpsuckers found in Ohio, the central quillback carpsucker or Carpiodes cyprinus hinei and the Northern quillback carpsucker or c.c.cyprinus Northern quillback carpsuckers are deeper bodied and have smaller eyes compared to the central quillback carpsuckers.
Habitat and Habits :
Northern quillback carpsuckers are found only in Lake Erie. They can be found in the lake but they are most common in depths of 15-25 feet. The central quillback carpsucker is found in inland at Ohio in streams and rivers. They are very common in the gradient streams of northwestern Ohio. They are also found in an abundant at Ohio's larger reservoirs. Both adults and juvenile often feed in large schools, moving slowly over sand.
Reproduction and Care of the Young ones :
Quillback carpsuckers lay eggs between April until late May. These eggs are randomly stored over a sand or mud bottom and left in water. Females lay approximately between 15,000 to 70,000 eggs.
Life Cycle :
They are viviparous, as they give birth to live young. Their larvae hides in eelgrass mix into sandy bottoms, feeding on zooplankton and small brine shrimp. They start moving towards the rocky habitats as they get mature. The life span for a quillback is 92 years, but it is reported they can live longer than this period.
They have a gland that produces as well as absorbs gas, to expand the swim bladder, which does not help the fish to move through water depths. When a Quillback is caught in net at depths of 60 feet and pulled to the surface, the swim bladder cannot get adjusted quickly in water pressure and literally gets explodes. The numbers of Quillback, which are caught with other species, are usually wasted in this manner. Strict regulations are taken to help in minimizing over fishing.
Like all Quillback species, they have venomous glands at the end of their dorsal spines that can inject a deadly toxin through the spines. These stinging spines protect the Quillback from predators to defend themselves.
Quillback rockfish are members of the Scorpaenidae family and they are commonly known as scorpion fishes. Some of these species are deadly to humans, as the sting of a quillback is usually like a bee sting, depending on your reactions. Stings generally result in mild pain, burning or swelling at the sting site, and low-grade fever.