It’s Lent, which means a lot of people have fish on their mind and their plates, at least on Fridays. As if to warn us not to eat too much seafood this Lenten season, this week a fisherman in Australia caught a fish with two mouths. What’s in the water down there?
The fish is a bony bream (Nematalosa erebi), a freshwater fish that can reach 32 cm (12.6 inches) in length and goes by a variety of interesting names such as Australian River Gizzard Shad, Hairback Herring and Melon Fish. You can add the Double Mouth Lake Bonney Monster to the list as this one was caught in the coastal lake located in the south east of South Australia.
Commercial fisherman Garry Warrick hauled it in and said he’d never seen a two-mouth fish of any kind in his 30 years in the business. The bony bream was alive when he spotted it in the net.
Both mouths are actually joined together. The top one opens and closes but the bottom one looks permanently open. Other than that, it looks like a normal fish.
What caused this bony bream to end up with two mouths? It could be chance. It could be because Australia is famous for strange fish, as seen recently with the rare catches of a goblin shark and a frilled shark. It could be because Lake Bonney has been getting wastewater from nearby pulp and paper mills for over 60 years.
Animal oddities are always a cause for concern, especially as their numbers continue to rise. That’s the real warning. Let’s just hope this one isn’t a sign that fish are evolving into politicians.