Once a diverse major group of bony fishes, the Halecomorpha have only one suviving member, the bowfin (Amia calva) of eastern North America. (As if to make up for this, Amia calva has collected a number of common names: bowfin, dogfish, grindle, choupique, cottonfish, mudfish, lawyer. . .) Living bowfins are remarkably hardy: since the swim bladder opens into the esophagus, a bowfin can gulp air, and thus survive in oxygen-poor waters.

Caturus, a Jurassic fish

The picture shows a member of the extinct halecomorph family Caturidae, Caturus, from the Solnhofen Limestone (Late Jurassic) of southern Germany. The forked tail and streamlined shape show that Caturus was a fast swimmer, and probably a predator.

Get a good look at the skull of a bowfin, as brought to you by the Massachusetts Museum of Natural History. Anglers may be interested in "Let's Show Some Respect,", a factsheet put out by the Michigan department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, or "John A. Grindle, Fossil at Law" from The In-Fisherman.