Texas has more acres of inland water than almost any other state, but it has only one natural lake. Most Texas “lakes” are actually reservoirs, bodies of water impounded by human-built dams.
Many Texas reservoirs were built after the great drought of the 1950s, and they created a great deal of new habitat for which Texas had few native species of fish.
Paddlefish like the ones in this exhibit are native to the Red River drainage in Texas, but they are now threatened in Texas due to loss of habitat. They are the oldest surviving animal species in North America—older than dinosaurs—truly a living fossil. Paddlefish need large amounts of flowing water in order to reproduce, and the construction of dams and reservoirs has decreased their numbers.
Other large fish in this exhibit include common carp, blue catfish and alligator gar.