Invasive Fish That Can Live Out of Water Threatens Australian Species

A fish that can live out of water for up to six days poses a threat to Australian native species, according to James Cook University scientist Dr. Nathan Waltham. The climbing perch uses its gill plates to drag itself from waterhole to waterhole, and has already reached the Torres Strait islands of Boigu and Saibai (both Australian territories), around five kilometers south of Papua New Guinea, where it originates.

The “extremely hardy” fish can survive in the mud of dried-up creek beds for up to six months. The fish is “very invasive, outcompeting native species once it is established in a new environment,” said researchers in a statement.

In order to protect native Australian marine and land fauna, Dr. Waltham emphasized the need for active monitoring and education by relevant authorites and local communities to ensure the species does not reach Australia.

For more information, visit James Cook University’s website. Credit: Dr. Nathan Waltham, James Cook University

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