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Nature & You: Small fish highlights upcoming holiday theme

The bluntnose minnow's duties are a natural tribute to fatherhood. [Photo by Garold W. Sneegas, USGS]
The bluntnose minnow's duties are a natural tribute to fatherhood. [Photo by Garold W. Sneegas, USGS]

There's a reason they make all of those refrigerator magnets.

Every so often, a special occasion comes along when one or two of these nifty little items can come in kind of handy.

First off, you'll want to use your scissors to snip out today's article. Next, fasten it in a prominent place on the front of your home refrigerator. A couple of those special magnets will be just the ticket for today's project.

You will want Dad to see today's article. The topic of this article has a strong "Father's Day" theme, and that special day of celebration is just about a week hence.

In the natural world, there's a tiny fish that perfectly exemplifies the "Father's Day" holiday theme. Of what I speak is the bluntnose minnow. 

When it comes that time of year for this little creature to take on his fatherly duties, he selects a cavity underneath a rock that is midstream. If no such "mini-cave" exists, he'll get busy and excavate one there. He then goes about the task of growing some special bumps on the top of his noggin. He'll use this special "scrub brush," of sorts, to scrape the ceiling in this special egg-brooding chamber. The female minnow eventually comes in and fastens the fish eggs to the ceiling of this egg-rearing "mini-cave." The father fish then takes on the duty of energetically defending the nest from interlopers.

It's a dandy example of the important role that dads play in the world of nature.

Enjoy your holiday!

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›