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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Amia \Am"i*a\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ? a kind of tunny.] (Zo["o]l.) A genus of fresh-water ganoid fishes, exclusively confined to North America; called bowfin in Lake Champlain, dogfish in Lake Erie, and mudfish in South Carolina, etc. See Bowfin.


n. A voracious ganoid fish, ''Amia calva'', the last survivor of the order Amiiformes, found in the fresh waters of the United States.


n. primitive long-bodies carnivorous freshwater fish with a very long dorsal fin; found in sluggish waters of North America [syn: grindle, dogfish, Amia calva]


Bowfin (Amia calva) are basal bony fishes related to gars in the infraclass Holostei. Common names include mudfish, mud pike, dogfish, griddle, grinnel, cypress trout and choupique. They are regarded as taxonomic relicts, being the sole surviving species of the order Amiiformes which dates from the Jurassic to the Eocene, persisting to the present. Although bowfin are highly evolved, they are often referred to as " primitive fishes" because they have retained some morphological characteristics of their early ancestors.

Bowfin are demersal freshwater piscivores native to North America, and commonly found throughout much of the eastern United States, and in southern Ontario and Quebec. Fossil deposits indicate Amiiformes were once widespread in both freshwater and marine environments with a range that spanned across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Now their range is limited to much of the eastern United States and adjacent southern Canada, including the drainage basins of the Mississippi River, Great Lakes and various rivers exiting in the Eastern Seaboard or Gulf of Mexico. Their preferred habitat includes vegetated sloughs, lowland rivers and lakes, swamps and backwater areas; they are also occasionally found in brackish water. They are stalking, ambush predators known to move into the shallows at night to prey on fish and aquatic invertebrates such as crawfish, mollusks, and aquatic insects.

Like gars, bowfin are bimodal breathers which means they have the capacity to breathe both water and air. Their gills exchange gases in the water allowing them to exploit oxygen for breathing, but they also have a gas bladder that serves to maintain buoyancy, and also allows them to breathe air by means of a small pneumatic duct connected from the foregut to the gas bladder. They can break the surface to gulp air, which allows them to survive conditions of aquatic hypoxia that would be lethal to most other species.

[[ In Aquarium2.ogv|thumb|thumbtime=0:15|

Bowfin activity in an aquarium.


Usage examples of "bowfin".

At the helm of the super attack sub USS Bowfin, Mackenzie is soon locked in combat with the Sea Devil, chasing shadow signals and sound signatures in a desperate battle that will decide the future of the free world!

A foghorn sounded mournfully in the distance, yet the Bowfin carried no such device itself.

Mac felt the angle of the deck beneath him gradually tilt upwards as the Bowfin emerged from the cold, black depths.

Silently loitering off the coast of Little Cumbrae Island, the India-class attack sub Ladoga monitored the approach of the the Bowfin long before the American sub contacted the commander of the British surface ship squadron.

I was settin pins in a bowfin alley in Ardmore Oklahoma and I got dogbit by a bulldog took a chunk out of my leg the size of a Sunday roast and it got infected and the man I worked for carried me down to the doctor and they thought I had rabies or somethin and all hell busted loose and I got shipped back to Uvalde County.

Primitive bony fish living in freshwater streams and rivers during the latter part of the age of reptiles include gar, bowfin, and sturgeon.

Foam streamed past the streaking bowfins to be swallowed in the churning turbulence that surged behind the stern, where silent turbines drove two unseen screws, The phantom decks were open, and their plates bore the weight of thirty or more monstrous passengers—hulking Rillyti warriors in full battle array.