Sat, Apr 21, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Museum hatches flying fish in its first-ever attempt

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A juvenile flying fish is pictured at Pingtung County’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in an undated photograph.

Photo: Copy by Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times

Pingtung County’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium’s first-ever artificially incubated flying fish eggs have survived their first month.

Museum staff said that early last month they found the eggs attached to a strand of seaweed that had washed up on the shore while conducting research near Houwan’s (後灣) intertidal zone.

Out of curiosity and concern that the eggs would dry out, the staff brought the eggs back to the museum for research, they said.

Experts from the museum’s biology division confirmed that the eggs belonged to the flying fish family and on March 12 they decided to attempt an experimental incubation, staff said.

The museum has successfully incubated about 30 flying fish, it said.

After rearing the fish for a month, they have grown to about 1cm long, a staff member said.

Juvenile flying fish are transparent and the red, blue and yellow of their internal organs can be seen until they grow to adulthood, when they develop silver-white scales, the museum said.

Juvenile flying fish have disproportionally large fins that allow them to glide through the water like an aquatic butterfly, the museum said.

The museum plans to wait until the fish grow to between 5cm and 10cm long before deciding whether to put them on display, it said.

The fish are likely to be housed in the museum’s Open Ocean and Underwater Tunnel sections if they are displayed, it added.

Artificial incubation of flying fish eggs is rare, a local marine expert said, adding that almost no indoor aquarium can provide the large amount of space that the fish need to survive.

The challenge that the museum now faces is how to raise the fish, the museum said.

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