Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History

BioFortean Review, (June 2010, No. 24)

An Out-of-Place Dogfish in the Ohio River

Tony Gerard

[Editor's Note: Tony, a biologist at Shawnee Community College, forwarded the following images and details of an OOP dogfish, noting that he thought it may have been captured in the Gulf, carried upriver, and then dumped. He pointed out it seemed unlikely that a local resident would have caught the shark in the river, and then dumped it without telling anyone about it. Interestingly, there were at least two other marine finds (both octopuses) in northern rivers reported in the media around the same period. Fishermen continue to be a likely source for out-of-place marine life.]

The dead shark was found on May 13 (2010) at the Olmstead, IL, boat ramp on the Ohio River. It was found by Bob Neely, a local commercial fisherman. The river was dropping at the time and lots of driftwood and other debris covered the lower area of the boat ramp parking lot. The shark was found among the driftwood. Word quickly spread and many local people came to view the shark, eventually including local T.V. news crews. The shark did get a mention on some local news broadcasts.

I went with U.S.F.W.S. Wildlife Biologist Karen Mangan to collect the shark's body. When we arrived, the shark had been placed on a piece of driftwood. When I first got a call about a shark on the Ohio, I immediately thought of the 1934 Alton Bull shark. As it turns out it was a mature, female spiny dogfish shark. The shark was approximately three feet long. Due to the smell and discoloration I assume it had been dead for several days.

The shark still had a steel leader and hook in its mouth. The plastic coating on the leader had been frayed off around the mouth, indicating the shark had been caught alive. The line above the leader had been cut. The spine of the first dorsal fin had been cut off. The second dorsal fin spine was intact.

We transported the shark to the freezer at Shawnee Community College. Before the shark even had time to freeze Karen called and said local conservation police were coming to take the shark's carcass. I heard the conservation police took the shark to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, but I'm not certain of this.

 

Ohio River dogfish
Ohio River dogfish
Ohio River dogfish
dogfish
dogfish
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