Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Amazing specimen: an albino marlin

A New York woman caught (and released, which this article doesn't make clear) a fish no one had ever seen: an albino marlin. Caught off Costa Rica, the fish was so remarkable a taxidermy company promised her a replica mount for free. 
This was an Atlantic Blue Marlin Makaira nigricans, a fish that can reach 5m in length and over 600kg.  So the albino specimen wasn't any sort of size or weight record, but it was still an impressive fish. Some authorities think this species may swim as fast as 80km/hr (43 knots for us American sailors). Albinos generally don't do well in the wild: not only are they sun-sensitive, which may affect feeding opportunities even for an ocean-going fish, but they stand out to both predators and prey. It was an Atlantic Blue that figured in the most famous fishing novel ever, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, a novel I never got around to reading until 2013 but liked a lot. Here's a lovely animated adaptation. (Caution, not sure who has rights to this)

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