Aquarium euthanises world's oldest fish

08 February, 2017, 00:25 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Shedd's 'Grandad' — world's oldest aquarium fish — dies

For more than 80 years, an Australian lungfish named Granddad led a laid-back life at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.

One of two lungfishes acquired from the Taronga Zoo and Aquarium in Sydney, Australia during Shedd's 1933 Pacific collecting expedition, Granddad was seen by 104 million guests over eight decades of residency.

Keepers are unsure about the specifics of his age, but it is not uncommon for lungfish to live for 100 years and the Shedd staff believes that Grandad was close, since he arrived in 1933 with a few years already under his gills.

"For a fish who spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages", said Bridget Coughlin, Ph.D., the aquarium's President and CEO.

When a physical examination showed Granddad's organs were failing and his quality of life was slipping away, the health team made the "humane" decision to euthanize him, the aquarium said.

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The species is likely the oldest living vertebrate on the planet, with fossils dating back 380 million years, reports the University of Washington. "Behind the scenes, aquarists in the vicinity were occasionally startled by the long, loud snorts the fish made as he breathed", the aquarium added.

It was at that same party that the aquarium reckons Granddad had his fanciest-ever meal: a layered cake "filled with smelt, shrimp, yellow squash, carrots, potatoes, and green peas, decorated with seaweed, esca-role and silversides".

Shedd Aquarium: Today we're saddened to share that the Shedd family has bid farewell to one of our best-loved members. "In fact, in 2015, my wife and I got married at the aquarium right in front of his tank so he could be our witness". But if you haven't been to the Shedd in a while, check out these photos of the aquarium's favorite fish.

Granddad was one of three other Australian lungfish who are exhibited at the aquarium, one of which is an African lungfish who is scheduled to go on display soon.

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