A mystery fish is caught time-to-time in northern Australia. It was enthused about then thrown back to be forgotten until another recreational fisherman snagged an example. The fish was nicknamed the blue bastard in the usual Aussie way. Serious scientists who wanted to catch it couldn't, no matter how hard they tried.
Jeff Johnson, an ichthyologist, decided to take the case into his own hands. He hired Ben Bight a Weipa fishing guide to go out and catch the freaker. Specimens were caught and sent to Brisbane where Johnson and geneticist Jessica Worthington got to work on them. The fish already had a name: Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus. Little was known about it, however.
The Blue Bastard grows to a meter in length. Juveniles have black and white stripes with a yellow tinge. Adults change to a pleasant gray-blue. They are territorial, showing aggression by rushing at each other then locking jaws in a struggle.
Living in the shallows it would be thought that they are easy to catch. This is not the case. They are picky and seldom bite a baited hook or spinner. A new tourist industry could develop: apparently, they are successfully caught by presenting a "fly" to them. As they are not endangered this is a serious proposition.
◆ Biology by Ty Buchanan ◆