Monday, February 25, 2013


This is a "hogchoker", a common fish of Florida's freshwater streams and springs.
They lie on the bottom which they match by adjusting their own pigmentation, so you probably won't ever see one unless you do a lot of snorkeling in Florida springs or spring runs.

Hogchokers are members of the flounder clan, but don't get too excited, they are a tiny species and a 5 incher is HUGE!

The Hogchoker in this post is only about 5 to 7 cm long.

Look close at the right side of the picture.

See the tiny red leech attached to the Hogchoker's fin?

Here is a very cropped view of the same Hogchoker photo.
I assume the baby leech just lunched on the contents of tiny capillaries in the fins of he Hogchoker.

This is the same leech pup on the distal end of my index finger.

I've seen a lot of leeches in a life time of mucking about in swamps, dip netting, and peeking into turtle armpits, but NEVER have I seen one this tiny.

Leeches always make me think of "Stand By Me", the movie based on Stephen King's story, "The Body".

A few years back, when I almost completely severed the tip of my ring finger while scalloping in the Gulf, I had high hopes that the Docs might use a medicinal leech or two to ensure blood flow to the reattached finger tip.

Alas, they did not.

Story opportunity missed.


tai haku said...

Every time you post hogchoker photos I think how cool they are and what cool aquarium subjects they'd make. I'm really surprised they haven't taken off in the aquarium trade as a cool little oddity - I wonder if there is any reason for this you're aware of as a hogchoker expert?

crybrug said...

Now do hogchokers choke hogs? I just wonder because of the name and if it doesn't how did it get a name like that?

The leech was a cool find. I think just about everyone thinks of that movie in reference to a leech.

Thank you for sharing.

Island Rider said...


Floridacracker said...

I don't know except they probably don't take prepared dry fish foods. I try and catch tiny freshwater shrimps to feed them.

A full grown hogchoker would be about the right size to "choke a hog".
That's all I got.

Yes, tru dat!

Mark P said...

I second the "ick." I am not fond of bloodsuckers, but I never see the aquatic ones. Only fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, and that's plenty for me.

robin andrea said...

Nice find, FC.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Neat little fish. We use "hogchoker" to describe a torrential rainstorm. Go figure. Now wondering if you've discovered Leechella raymondi, a new species of hogchoker leech. Stranger things have happened.
Oh, by the way...I clicked through via Facebook. ;)

lisa said...

What a wonderful find, I just love seeing some of the creatures that you show us. Sorry I don't get over more often, but school is taking quite a bit of my time. Being older and not having a memory worth a darn, takes a lot of study time to retain what I learn.

cinbad122 said...

I L-O-V-E that movie. I think of it whenever I hear leeches too!

Davis said...

I always think of that scene to, immediately followed by a severe case of the heebie jeebies.

john rost said...

What's that leech called?

Please do reply ASAP!

I was recently assaulted by such a leech like parasite/bug/worm thing.

It was about 2-3mm in lenght and had a black dot on its big round end which supposedly was the head.

I was in the mountains, and had put my hand in a stream. This thingy that got stuck on my palm looked cute until I started rubbing and scratching it off - which I don't really remember if worked - I perhaps saw the damn thing crawl under the skin of my palm and into it.

I'm really scared. Could you give more details on this leech thing you've posted the picture of?

Did it try to enter your hand by burrowing into your skin?

email me back at