• Muskellunge, Tiger

Latin name

Esox masquinongy x Esox lucius

Other names

Tiger muskie, norlunge, nor’lunge, hybrid muskellunge.


Tiger muskellunge was thought to be a separate species until scientists were able to cross northern pike with muskellunge and discover the true origin of tiger muskie. Intentional hatchery crosses of these species by fishery managers are now much more common than natural hybridization, and tiger muskellunge have been stocked in many reservoirs where neither parent occurs naturally. Fish farmers prefer to cross a male northern pike with a female muskellunge because the muskellunge eggs are less sticky and do not stick together as much during hatching. Populations of introduced tiger muskellunge are naturally self-limiting because this hybrid is sterile and cannot reproduce on its own. Therefore, its numbers can be controlled over time. It is also fast growing and aggressive, making it an excellent target for anglers. Tiger muskellunge has a distinctive appearance and should not be confused with true muskellunge. In most parameters, especially size and appearance, the hybrid is very similar to the true muskellunge. Anglers prefer the naturally occurring hybrid to the true muskellunge because of its rarity, beautiful coloration, and playful nature. The true muskellunge may have stripes or spots on its sides or no markings at all, but it is rarely as strikingly beautiful as the tiger muskellunge, which has dark, wavy stripes or tiger-like stripes, many of which are serrated, on a lighter background. As with many hybrid fish, the body of the Tiger Muskellunge is slightly deeper than that of either of its comparable parents. The cheeks and jaws are usually spotted, with 10 to 16 pores on the underside of the jaws. The tail tips are more rounded than those of the true muskellunge, and the fins have distinct spots. In very large specimens, the fins, especially the tail fin, appear much larger than those of a similar true muskellunge.


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Tiger muskellunge weighing more than 30 pounds are extremely rare in the wild, and most have been caught in Wisconsin lakes. The 51-pound, 3-ounce fish caught in 1919 from Lac Vieux Desert on the Wisconsin-Michigan border is a world record. For a time, it was thought to be a true muskellunge, so it was the world record for that species.

Life history and Behavior

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Food and feeding habits

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Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Esociformes
Family Esocidae
Genus Esox
Species E. lucius × E. masquinongy
Conservation status No information
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 21
Maximum length, cm 130
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Muskellunge, Tiger

Tags: Muskellunge, Tiger