Scientists have discovered an 81-year-old midnight snapper caught off the coast of Western Australia. It is considered to be the oldest tropical reef fish in the world. The tropical reef fish was discovered by the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the Rowley Shoals.
“Until now, the oldest fish that we’ve found in shallow, tropical waters have been around 60 years old,” said Dr. Brett Taylor, a fish biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science who led the study, reports The Independent.
It is believed to have been born years before World War II. CNN reports that researchers focused on three species in four locations in Western Australia and the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean.
10 other fish more than 60-year-old, including a 79-year-old red bass, has also been identified in the Rowley Shoals in 1977. Their age is determined by studying their ear bones, also known as otoliths, to determine their age. The fishes are dissected, ear bones are dissected which contain annual growth bands that are counted in a similar way as tree rings.
feature image: archive snapper