Blue bastard name becomes official

QUEENSLAND Museum scientists have officially identified a new species of fish otherwise known as “the blue bastard”.

Until now, according to a report in the Courier Mail, the blue bastard was an undescribed sweetlip. The “bastards” live on shallow reefs in tropical waters and have become a popular fly rod target.

The “blue bastard” name came from its bluish appearance and reluictness to take a fly or lure in shallow water. Blue bastards can grow to a metre long.

The Courier Mail reported Weipa fisherman, Ben Bright, emailed photos of the fish to museum ichthyologist, Jeff Johnson last year.

Johnson teamed up with museum geneticist Jessica Worthington Wilmer to analyse specimens taken from as far afield as Africa, the Middle East and Japan to describe the newest member of the sweetlips family, according to the Courier Mail.

Museum chief executive Suzanne Miller said it was a great achievement, especially as museum scientists had described 120 new species from protozoans to mammals in the past year.

Johnson said it was amazing that the blue bastard had remained elusive for so long, given its reputation in the fly-fishing community.

“It’s quite a unique fish in both biology and behaviour, so in a way it’s surprising it took this long for it to be officially recognised as a new species,” he said.

The blue bastard’s new latin name is Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus. Even the Latin name is a bastard to pronounce!

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