Capable of harming native species, the climbing perch which can survive on dry land for six days has been discovered on its way to Australia.
ORIGIN OF THE CLIMBING PERCH
The climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) was first found in southeast Asia about 40 years ago. It’s devastating effects on Papua, New Guinea and Indonesia had lasted for too long without any proper solution; now it’s making its way to Australia. Scientists first found this on an expedition to Boigu and Saibai islands, four and six kilometers away from Papua New Guinea mainland respectively. They observed the fish in salt water holes and this caught their attention. According to them, the trip was at the end of the dry season when the saltiness of wetlands is twice as much, and the climbing perch still survived.
IT CAN GO FAR
The climbing perch is capable of living on the dry land for six days because it has lungs like humans with which it can breathe on land. This invasive fish can move across dry land and rest in dry creek beds for months, almost half a year. Recent discoveries show that it had already made its way to two Torres Strait Islands in the Australian territory and it won’t take long before it finds its way to the Australian mainland.
WHY WE MUST PAY ATTENTION
These harsh species have been discovered to be harmful to aquatic species especially predatory species. Evidence of climbing perch has been found in the digestive system of dead barramundi and catfish on Boigu and Saibai islands. It was further discovered that the strong gill of the climbing perch lodged in their throat which led to their death. Also, birds have similar trouble with the fish’s gill covers and are also threatened by this pernicious fish. It has the ability to swell up in the throat of their predators which causes them to choke or starve to death. Although very harmful, scientists at the James Cook University say the chances of the fish making it to the Australian mainland are bleak. Unless it is caught by a fishing boat or discarded as live-bait fish, its chances of swimming to Australia are very low.
WHAT TO DO TO THE CLIMBING PERCH
Researchers have begun working on the salt and oxygen tolerance of the climbing perch to determine its exact adaptive level. Also, its maximum temperature level must be worked on for the purpose of finding effective ways of controlling the climbing perch’s wild population and spread. This will further preserve not only the aquatic species, but the native species of the south. Fishermen in the local areas have also been alerted to report any sight of the climbing perch so they will not have access beyond the island.