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Science Recognizes the Blue Bastard

A northern Australian reef fish has been known as the “blue bastard” to fishermen for a long time. The fish changes color as it matures, and is blue as an adult. It is also combative, fiercely fighting other fish of the same species with its jaws and teeth. But it had not been described by scientists as a species separate from the sweetlips until recently. And it’s been given an appropriate name: the Latin equivalent of “blue bastard.” 

Queensland Museum scientist Jeff Johnson, who identified the species from photos taken last year by a Weipa fisherman, has formally christened it Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus – a direct Latin translation of the colloquial name anglers bestowed on a fish famously difficult to land.

“Caeruleo is blue and nothus is bastard. That was the origin of the name applied by fishermen for many years and I thought, why should I argue with that? It seemed like a perfect name for me,” Johnson told Guardian Australia.

“I wondered what the reviewers of the paper would say about it but they both agreed it was quintessentially Australian and we should go ahead.”

I agree it’s a fair dinkum name for a blue Australian fighting fish. -via Arbroath    

(Image credit: Queensland Museum)


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