Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The decline of the 'disgusting' burbot

Burbot close upWhen it comes to animals threatened with extinction, the cute and cuddly ones tend to get the most attention. But what about the ugly ones that go unnoticed when their numbers start to dwindle? Mary Colwell speaks up for the burbot.

"When you are furry, when you're lovable, you often fare better in people's interests than if you're bald and rather ugly," says Richard Sabin, curator of mammals at the Natural History Museum in London, referring to the popular appeal of animals such as pandas.

It was never going to bode well for the burbot then. The fish is "fat looking and a little bit flabby and soft" - a description offered by the museum's fish curator, James Maclaine.

He isn't the only one who doesn't swoon at its looks. "People have mixed feelings about the burbot," he says. "There's a 19th Century account by a man called Pennant who calls it 'a very delicate fish for the table, though of disgusting appearance when alive'."

It is true that burbot are… characterful. They are long and sinuous, commonly growing to more than a metre in length, but can get much larger. They look very much like eels - they are often called eelpout - and when caught, will wrap themselves around the angler's arms and legs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails