by Rachel Alexander | June 6, 2015 2:09 pm
The climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) is frightening some scientists in Australia due to its resilience. It can survive out of water for up to six days, crawling across land. If it does not fall into the normal pattern of fish in the food chain, it could multiply rapidly and destroy other species and habitats.
According to Dr. Nathan Waltham, a James Cook University scientist currently tracking the perch’s movement, the fish can also survive in the mud of a dried-up creek bed for half a year. Originally believed to be a freshwater fish, the perch is thought to be able to tolerate limited amounts of saltwater.
The highly invasive fish has a will of steel, and is said to outcompete native species with relative ease. When swallowed by a predator, it won’t go down without a fight: the tiny menace will swell up exponentially, choking out its captor.
Native to Asia, the climbing perch has already established itself as far south as Papua New Guinea. Experts are concerned that it could be inching its way toward mainland Australia by way of the Torres Strait — it has already been sighted on Boigu and Saibai, two islands between Papua New Guinea and Australia, and would be “difficult” to eradicate.
Ironically, the the same resilience that allows the climbing perch to live outside of water also keeps it fresh longer after it dies, making it highly desirable for eating. Hopefully it will become a popular fish to eat, helping keep its numbers down.
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