ANIMAL: European Weatherfish Misgurnus fossilis Type of Animal: True Loach Habitat: Rivers, warm shallow canals, warm shallow drainage ditches, warm shallow oxbow lakes, lakes, warm shallow fishponds, dense aquatic vegetation patches, detritus-rich shorelines, streams, farm ponds Location(s): Ranges from Netherlands/Belgium/NE France in W through C & E Europe s to Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, & far N Albania eastward to W/C Russia & NW Kazakhstan. Introduced in parts of France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Croatia, & Great Lakes region. Appearance: Slender eel/snake-like fish, brownish to bronze to yellowish coloration w/ brown banding, noticeable barbels (whiskers) around mouth Food/Diet: Detritus, carrion, krill, worms, brine shrimp, crickets, chironomid flies, copepods, waterlice, ostracods, beetle larvae, water fleas, gastropods, plant matter, fish Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquariums & aquaculture. Monitoring of certain populations/habitats. Reintroductions in certain areas. Lifestyle: Schools of 3-30 fish Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Fry Group: School Weight: Male: 4 oz Female: 5-6 oz Gestation: 2-3 days Life Span: 4-10 years Body Length: Male: 8 in Female: 12 in Young: 2 in Tail Length: Male: 1.8 in Female: 2 in Main predators are larger fish. Also called Pond Loach & European Weather Loach. Sexually mature at a year old. One of the largest true loaches. These fish make good pets & will readily feed from owner’s hand. Spawning pairs perform mating dance in which male wraps himself around females & fertilizes eggs as female lays them. Eggs attach to plants/substrate. Males often live shorter lifespans than females. These fish are very hardy & adaptable. Females lay thousands of eggs in single spawning. Fun Fact(s): During droughts/cooler weather, these fish burrow in moist substrate, sometimes out of water. These fish can survive out of water for extended time periods, as long as substrate moist. When out of water, they’ll swallow air & absorb atmospheric oxygen as well as produce thick mucus for keeping body moist. In low oxygen conditions, these fish will swim to surface & gulp air. Air then goes through intestines where complex blood vessel system extracts oxygen before air expelled from anus. These fish can even breathe atmospheric oxygen. Get weatherfish name due to increase in activity as result of barometric pressure. They’re especially active before storms. They can basically predict weather. People have kept these fish for centuries, if not millennia, as weather predictors.