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"Shocking" Fish


Sean Becker

Spending an electrifying day with fish experts Michael Hammer & Glenn Moore.

Today we had the pleasure of joining two experts in the area of Freshwater Fish - Michael Hammer & Glenn Moore. It was exciting to see the techniques they employed to gather fish specimens along freshwater river systems. In particular, the use of an electric "zapper" (called “Frank Zappa” by the pair) which stunned fish hidden under rocks and leaf litter, sending them floating the surface. We were assured that the electric shock did not kill the fish (although we were warned to stand clear of the water during the process).

The variety of fish caught throughout the day was incredible. They included the Western Rainbowfish, Spangled Grunter, Greenway's Grunter (endemic to the West Kimberley), Bony Bream, Western Sooty Grunter (known to the locals as Black Bream) as well as several freshwater shrimp & prawns. It was also interesting to see two variety of catfish – the Falsespine Catfish and Hyrtl’s Catfish. The namesake of the former is given due to the first dorsal fin being composed of a non-venomous, flexible cartilaginous ray. This is in contrast to Hyrtl’s Catfish, where the first dorsal fin and pectoral fins contain sharp, venomous spines. A distinction Michael and Glenn can attest to firsthand!

To finish the day we visited the incredible Dillie Gorge, in the hopes of adding a few Kimberley Archerfish to the day's haul. Alas, due to some faulty equipment, we were back to good old fashioned hand lines and lures. No Archerfish were caught, however the scenery more than made up for it. Overall, an incredible day of adventuring and science on Wilinggin Country.

Looking forward to what tomorrow brings :)

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shocking fish