Original painting by Aleta Karstad of a live Mudminnow, done to illustrate the book "Fragile Inheritance" is being donated by Aleta to help raise funds for the housing, teaching, and research of collections of fresh water fishes and invertebrates.

This is a limited time offer! Immediate funds are needed to pay annual insurance for the building accommodating the Carleton University fluid-preserved collections, the collections of the Eastern Ontario Unionid survey, and the Canadian Library of Drifted Material. We must raise $4800 for the present insurance bill. Any further funds raised at this time will be applied to the winter's heating costs.

see Collections

Contact us by phone at (613)258-3107, or e-mail karstad@pinicola.ca

donations should be payable to Canadian River Management Society

and mailed to:
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
RR#2 Oxford Sta.
Ontario K0G 1T0

Bishops Mills Natural History Centre


the art of Aleta Karstad

About us


Home at Pinicola

Umbra limi, Mudminnow in Kemptville Creek

watercolour by Aleta Karstad

to raise funds for care of collections

Limited time offer for gift of original and exclusive signed prints

[Umbra limi]

Umbra limi, Mudminnow in Kemptville Creek

watercolour by Aleta Karstad

painted a little larger than actual size from a live Umbra, as an illustration for the book "Fragile Inheritance"

click to see detail

The largest donation made before 10 December 2004
will receive the ORIGINAL WATERCOLOUR (approx 18 x 25 cm)
donated by Aleta Karstad as a "thank you" gift.

Other donations exceeding $150 will receive
a signed art print of the "Umbra" watercolour.
The edition will be strictly limited
to the number of donors of at least $150 by 10 December.

with charitable receipts from Canadian River Management Society

Contact us by phone at (613)258-3107, or e-mail karstad@pinicola.ca

Our heartfelt thanks for the support and partnership of


Canadian River Management Society

About "Umbra"

The Mudminnow that Aleta painted was caught in a minnow trap under the iron bridge on Limerick Road on 1 January 1987, and lived all winter in an aquarium. It is now specimen CMNFI 87-0027.1 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Umbra limi is the "Mud Shadow" - our representative of a small family related to Pikes which includes the Alaskan Blackfish, Dallia pectoralis, famous for its ability to survive in vast numbers in tiny stagnant tundra ponds.

Umbra are ubiquitous in the swampy reaches of Kemptville Creek. Many of them stay in the headwaters through the winter when there is no oxygen in the water. While other fish drift downstream to more oxygen-rich water, Mudminnows respire by gulping air and absorbing oxygen through their swim bladders. They are active and feeding on small invertebrates in the icebound creek all winter, searching out sources of oxygenated water like seepages and bubbles beneath the ice. Like Pike they are ambush predators, shy solitary bottom lurkers, not schooling in the open water as minnows do. Despite their tolerance of extremely low oxygen in peaty, muddy habitat, their range does not extend north of the Ottawa Drainage.

Shadow that lives without air
Shadow that lives in the mud
Shadow that lives in the ice
Show me your slow success where others drift away.