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What do they look like?
Bowfins have large heads and mouths, have sharp teeth which they like to puncture their prey, one very long fin with about 50 soft rays, and a wide circular tail. These fish are dull in color, ranging from browns to greens on the tops and upper sides to lighter greens and whites on the lower sides and stomachs. These fish are known for their numerous stripes. They have what appear to be diagonal stripes on their dorsal fins, and maintain a rather large black spot near the caudal fin. In addition, bowfins do have a feature that is not present on any other freshwater fish. They have a bony plate-like feature under their bottom jaws. These are called gular plates. Another interesting feature of the bowfin is that it actually has an air bladder. These fish can hang out at the surface of the water and actually breathe air from above the surface.

How do they behave?
Bowfins prefer warm temperatures in which to live. They spawn in late spring and early summer. During spawning season, the males build nests on gravel substrates that may make good places to fertilize the eggs of females. The nests are the males. Females are the visitors to the nests. Each male's nest may have as many as 30,000 eggs. Male bowfins are highly protective of their offspring. They protect the eggs for several weeks until they hatch and can function on their own.

What else do you need to know about them?
You won't see bowfins eating any vegetation. They are meat-eaters. They like to eat young bass or walleye, in particular.
These fish are known as predators and generally work alone. You'll rarely see them in groups.