Ecologists Fear Aggressive 'Climbing Perch' Fish Will Invade Australia

| by Tony Tran
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An invasive species of fish in Australia may pose a danger to the wildlife in the region.

The climbing perch, a native fish of Papua New Guinea, has the unique ability to survive many days on land as they have an organ that allows them to breathe air.

According to the Australian Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ website, the fish is able to “travel across land on their pectoral fins and, as their name suggests may even climb trees.”

As of now, a few of the fish have been seen on the coasts of Australia but more are slated to arrive on two Queensland islands waterways.

Ecologist Dr. Nathan Waltham, of James Cook University, talked to reporters about the danger they pose.

“When they populate an area they’re not commonly found in, they can disrupt the balance of that habitat,” Waltham told ABC News.

The ecologist also told reporters about how aggressive and toxic the fish are to other animals.

“Their gill covers, they can flex them out and get caught in the throats of fish and birds,” he said, “so that leads to the animal dying.

“They haven’t been recorded any further south but the threat is if they aren’t managed … then they actually may move through the Torres Strait and into northern Australia,” he added.

A research team from James Cook University is hoping to educate fishermen on how to identify and prevent the species from reaching Australia.

Source: The Daily Mail, ABC 

Photo Credit: The Daily Mail, Mirror