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#342 Scioto Madtom


This fish is a type of catfish and was only ever found in Big Darby Creek. That creek is part of he Scioto River system in Ohio. The fish was first discovered in 1943, and again collected in 1957. The people who discovered the fish did attempt to start up a captive breeding program, but that failed. The ones collected in 1957 were the last ones ever seen. There is still some hope that they may turn up again. The Northern Madtom was not seen for 31 years and then showed up and is doing pretty well now (listed as "near threatened"). You might think a catfish would be easy to determine if they are truly extinct or not. A common catfish in Ohio is the Channel Catfish which has a record length of 52 inches. These are very different though. They range in size from a little over 1 inch, to about 2 1/4 inches long. It is much easier to miss a little fish like this. Most likely they truly are extinct, but it is nice to hold out hope. Not much is known about them other than where they lived and that they had mildly venomous spines.

I usually do the mini-series starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. I decided to finish out the month though with painting extinct animals. It suits my more somber than normal mood on Memorial Day. Our family is very lucky, we have not lost loved ones in WWII, or any conflict after, I'm not sure about before WWII though. My dad is essentially blind in one eye and was unable to join the military. My mom's parents both were in WWII but came home safely. This is my grandpa, when he was stationed at a field hospital in Australia. I shared a picture of my grandma with her unit in the Navy back when I painted the Laysan Duck so I figure I should share my grandpa's picture for today. He was a private in the army, and never got a higher rank than that, but he was there for the medical aspect not concerned with advancement. He lived until after my youngest was born. My kids were the first and only great-grandkids he had. I have cousins now old enough that they could have kids, but none so far. I was his first grandkid too. He was one of my absolute favourite people in the world. He was incredibly intelligent, a microbiologist, and fascinating to talk to. I still look back fondly on time I would get to look at slides of tuberculosis or staphylococcus or other things that he had been growing for the lab. He also did a lot of research into our genealogy. I think that probably explains some of why I am so interested in genes and science. Art is a far cry from being a doctor as I'd planned when I went to university, but I am happy with the path I've chosen.

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