Monday, September 01, 2008
New Fashion?! Native Waves
Good story of Native Trout in Smithsonian.com
The immigrants, crowded into the damp hold of the German steamship Werra, were not particularly welcome when they made landfall in the United States on February 24, 1883. Xenophobic feelings were running high, with many Americans worried that the Europeans would displace residents already struggling to stay afloat.
The critics were quite nasty about the newcomers, variously described as scaly, voracious, monstrous and homely. They stole food from natives. They had sharp teeth. They ate their young. They were greenish yellow with red spots. They were fish.
Specifically, the fish disembarking the Werra that February were trout-to-be in the form of 80,000 fertilized eggs from a hard-fighting strain of Salmo trutta, the European brown trout, which makes its first appearance in Roman literature about a.d. 200, swims through Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, inspires Franz Schubert's "Trout" quintet of 1819 and establishes a beachhead in North America with this 1883 shipment. (continued)