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Predation competition and abiotic factors result in the distribution and abundance of the muskellunge The scientific name for Muskellunge is Esox masquinongy without divisions into subspecies Nelson 2004 Muskellunges are ecologically important for their aquatic systems and economically important to fisheries and communities Muskellunges population has greatly decreased in the last 20 years because over fishing this is due to the fact that they are an appealing trophy fish on account of its distinct markings and large size For these reasons there have been many stocking efforts to increase the population by introducing the fish into new bodies of water The Department Of Natural Resources stocks up to 130000 muskellunge a year Schrouder JD 1973 Muskellunges native habitat is limited to the St Lawrence River drainages the Ohio River and the Mississippi River Crossman 1978The Muskellunge also known as milliganong or muskie They are a fairly uncommon fish of North America The name Muskellunge comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe meaning ugly pike The Muskellunge is the largest member of the pike family and is continually mistaken for the northern pike its closest relative Like the northern pike Muskellunges body design is elongated and slender They have a hard tube shaped body The Muskies length it about six times as long as they are deep The head is flat with a large duckbill shaped mouth and needle sharp teeth The mouth extends halfway around the head The lower half of the muskys cheek is not scaled compared to the Northern pike in which the upper half of the cheek and earflap has scales This comparison is shown in Figure 1 Another easy way to distinguish between a northern pike and a Muskellunge is that the Northern pike has 6 or fewer pores on each side of the lower jaw while the muskellunge has 7 or more The dorsal anal and pelvic fins of the muskellunge are set far back also resembling a northern pike
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