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My first fish skeleton

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Wouter, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Hi all,

    Since a few years I prepare fish skulls, which are great fun to work with. My next challenge was a full skeleton of a fish, and my first one I completed a few months ago. I just got a new on line photo album so I can share some pics now.
    It was a 85 cm Zander (Zander lucioperca), a close relative of the American Walleye. I macerated it so it totally disarticulated except for the fins of which I scraped the bases manually and kept the original membranes, and the brain case which I wrapped with a string to keep it in one piece:

    The whole fish

    The head close up

    The head from behind

    Frontal view

    From the top

    It was my 99th skeleton so far, of which 97 were birds.

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Amazing! I can not fathom how you re assembled that. All those fine, small bones. All those ribs. You did an incredible job. Thank you for sharing. How long did it take you?
    3bears likes this.

  3. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Thanks for the kind words Seawolf:).
    It's hard to say how much time it took, there were about 1,5 years between getting the fish and delivering the skeleton, but there were long periods in between I did not work on it. I never did a full fish skeleton before, therefore I had to test several techniques on other fish first to see how they would work out before using them on this fish. This zander was given to me by a friend who is a professional skeleton builder but who does not know how to do a fish. A very important customer of his wanted one so he asked me to give it a try. I felt kind of sorry to have to give it back, but on the other hand, if there had not been someone who asked me about it every now and then, it probably would never have been finished;).

  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Man I wish I had your patience, that looks very cool. I would like one for my showroom but, man I don't have what it takes to do that. My hats off to you.
  5. This is great Wouter ! This one will definitely become a reference for me ;) I was planing to do the same with fins in case I came across a large fish that deserve a full skeleton, but it didn't happen yet.
  6. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Thanks JC, the fins of this fish I cleaned by dipping the base in boiling water and scraping the tissue away bit by bit. Then I pinned them om a piece of styrofoam which I let float in a bucket of formalin for about a week, and I let them dry at room temperature.
    My next full fish skeleton will be a Clarias catfish, asked for by my university, which I'll try to prepare without the fin membranes.
    IfI come across another large zander, should I save it for you or do you prefer another species?

  7. Thanks for the protocol ! Clarias catfish will be something impressing, so different.

    Yes, thank you, a new zander would be nice ! But not as big, because I'm limited in space. Otherwise I was thinking of trying snapper (beautiful and strong bones and I may be able to find this one by myself someday) or barracuda (for the very limited amount of fins) but of course be sure to keep one for you first ;)
  8. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Hi JC,

    I'll keep you in mind when I get an undamaged not-too-large zander. A nice barracuda would certainly be welcome with me, and a snapper of a species I cannot get from my own fish shop as well.
    Last weekend I got a nice sea bass (about 50 cm)which I'll try to prepare the same way as this zander, but this one will be for my own collection.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  9. Bunchofbones

    Bunchofbones New Member

    What's the best way to send specimens??

    Been meaning to look into the best methods..... (Should I start a new thread??))
  10. RBlack

    RBlack Member

    Fish are awesome! Nice job