Predatory fish in Kolkata
The discovery of a predatory fish from Subhas Sarovar in Kolkata’s eastern fringe of Beliaghata area has caught experts by surprise as they are concerned that it might destroy the local ecosystem and biodiversity. The predatory fish is an invasive species which in the past has destroyed local ecosystems in different states .
Resembles an alligator
The fish, known as Alligator Gar, resembles an alligator with long sharp teeth. Though the body looks like that of a fish, but hardly bears any quality fish have. They are highly carnivorous in nature and can grow up to eight feet. It not only kills other fish but there are reports of it attacking humans too. Its egg is also poisonous.
First time spotted in Kolkata
Shibu Mondol, a local angler, caught a 3.5-feet long Alligator Gar two months ago. He gave experts a scary account of how the fish he caught tried to attack him and snap his finger, reported Hindustan Times. The fish that weighed more than 5 kilos was later killed and eaten by some locals who said that its skin was so tough that they had to use an axe to chop it up. This is the first time, the species has been seen in the city. These Gars are prehistoric relatives of mega fish and are found mainly in North and Central America. But, however, in the last few years, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are also fighting to curb this menace of Alligator Gars that is killing other fish in the water. A similar Gar was caught from a well in Dadar, Mumbai in 2015.
KC Gopi, a fish expert of the Zoological Survey of India told Hindustan Times, “This is the first time that this species has been caught in the city. We would like to send a team and collect the specimen. We would also try to explore the lake to check if their population has proliferated and how big is the threat.”
Experts say that fish Alligator Gar and Crocodile fish are smuggled into the country to be reared in aquariums. But when the fish starts gaining size and kills other fish, owners often release them in the local water bodies. Going by the facts, the Alligator Gar can be considered as invasive species ( a plant, fungus or animal species which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health).