The pike (Esox
lucius) has a distribution range that encompasses the entire northern hemisphere.
Its southern range is limited by a preference for cooler water temperatures. In
North America, where it exists alongside other members of the pike family it is
popularly known as the northern pike. Probably the most widely known of these
other American pike is the muskellunge or musky (E. masquinongy). In most
of Europe there is only the one species of pike, but in the watershed of the Amur
River there exists a species restricted to that environment which is, unsurprisingly,
called the Amur pike (E. reicherti).
evidence suggests that the modern pike has changed little in appearance from ancient
pike, E. lepidotus, which existed around twenty million years ago. The
earliest fossil example of Esox lucius to be found in Britain is around
half a million years old.
of the fossil record it is believed that pike spread eastwards from a European
starting point and that this explains the increasing variety of pike species the
further east you look. The north American populations being the most easterly
and the most varied.
It is also strongly
suggested by archaeological evidence that the pike we know today is native to
mainland Britain and has not been introduced in historical times. Pike bones have
been found in association with harpoon heads dated around 9,500 years BC. Pike
probably re-colonized what is now the UK through the land-river bridge that existed
immediately after the last ice age when the ice sheet extended as far south as
Pike Ancient History
are indebted to Fred Buller for permission to use his classic book "Pike"
as a source for the information on this page.