why do sturgeon jump out of the water
Florida officials are investigating a sturgeon strike that killed a 5-year-old girl and injured her mother and older brother. All three were on a boat on the Suwannee River in Dixie County Thursday night when a huge sturgeon jumped out of the water and smacked into them. БOur thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this time,Б Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission regional director Andy Krause said. БThis is a terrible tragedy. Б
A spokeswoman for the agency said many details are still under investigation, the reported Saturday. Wildlife officials identified the dead girl as Jaylon Rippy of Trenton, Fla. She was airlifted to a Gainesville Hospital, along with her mother, Tanya Rippy, 31, and her 9-year-old brother Trevor. The boy suffered a broken arm, reported Saturday. The mother sustained injuries to her face mostly around her eyes, the station said. The Sun said JaylonБs father, who was on the boat, was not injured.
WCJB reported that Jaylon and her family were on a friend's boat. The sturgeon hit them as they were helping the friend take the boat out of the water near the Joe Anderson Boat Ramp in Fanning Springs. Wildlife officials said Jaylon is the first fatality recorded from a sturgeon strike on the Suwannee River. Several others have been injured by jumping sturgeon this year. The most recent incident took place Friday when a Sanderson couple was struck while boating on the Santa Fe River heading eastbound from the Suwannee. Colleen Harvey, 42, and her husband Charles, 41, were taken to the hospital. The fish are known for leaping more than 7 feet above the water. They can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds and can cause serious injuries. The Sun said sturgeon usually return from the Gulf to the Suwannee in the spring and that low river levels this year are causing the sturgeon to jump more frequently than in recent years.
The newspaper said scientists canБt explain why the fish jump, but they are confident the fish are not trying to attack boaters. WCJB said family friends have established a fundraising page on GoFundMe to help the Rippy family raise money to defray funeral and medical costs. The Associated Press contributed to this report. It's a quiet Friday morning on the Suwannee River in northwestern Florida, when a giant fish suddenly leaps six feet (two meters) out of the water and crashes back into the river. The stunt is performed by a Gulf sturgeon, a giant fish that traces its roots back to the days of the dinosaurs and can grow up to 8 feet (2. 5 meters) long and weigh up to 200 pounds (91 kilograms). Every few minutes over the next hour, more sturgeons reproduce the feat. Why the sturgeons jump has been the topic of a long-standing debate. Some scientists have suggested they do it to avoid predators; others have proposed that they do it simply for fun. (Read related story: [August 17, 2006]. ) Ken Sulak, a biologist at the U. S. Geological Survey in Gainesville, Florida, thinks he has found the answer.
The sounds jumping sturgeons make are distinct from the sounds of other jumping fish, Sulak says. He believes the jumping is a form of communication that sturgeons use to connect with larger groups and maintain community cohesion. "I think of sturgeon-jumping sounds as being equivalent to cows mooing announcing to the larger group the presence and position of individuals," Sulak said. "Still Get a Thrill" A subspecies of the Atlantic sturgeon, Gulf sturgeons are found in the coastal rivers of the Gulf of Mexico. The Suwannee River, which runs from southern Georgia through northern Florida, contains the largest population of Gulf sturgeons. (See an interactive. ) According to one 2001 estimate, between 5,500 and 7,650 adult sturgeons live in the Suwannee.
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