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Amazon Fish Pulled From Atchafalaya River

Courtesy LDWF
Courtesy LDWF

I remember my first extended trip to the Atchafalaya Basin. It was for a cleanup day. We all went out with garbage bags and boats and were going to do our part to make a very important part of Louisiana’s ecosystem a little cleaner. After we pulled up a car stereo, a cowboy boot, and a mannequin’s arm I knew the Atchafalaya was a body of water that was filled with many mysteries that were manmade.

The most recent mystery revealed by the Atchafalaya wasn’t manmade though. It was nature made but it was still a mystery. In fact, it was such a mystery that a biologist with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was left scratching his head over it.

The mystery was a fish. That’s a picture of the fish at the top of this story. Biologist Jody David with LDWF was called in to identify the fish after it was pulled from the waters of the Atchafalaya.

David was dumbfounded at first but because he is a scientist he took to the books and reference materials of his office. He also contacted several other biologists for their input and the startling revelation that David came up with was this.

The fish is a spotted tiger shovelnose catfish. No, it’s not from around here. It’s native to the waters of the Amazon River Basin of South America. The fish weighed two pounds and was about a foot and a half long.

How did a fish from the Amazon get to the Atchafalaya River near Melville? Speculation is that it could have been caught up in ships bilge, it could have swum the distance from South America, or most likely it was someone’s pet and they released it into the river.

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