Monday, July 06, 2009

A Strange Fish from Yap

I recently ran across mention of a "mystery fish" from the Micronesian island of Yap, in Kenneth Brower's 1983 book, A Song for Satawal. Brower mentions that in a paper on ethno-ichthyology of the island, Dr. Margie Falanruw listed a fish the Yapese call galuf nu medai, translated as "monitor lizard of the sea." She noted: "Lives in mangroves, head like a crocodile, caught at night, has lizard-like skin and red meat that tastes like salmon. Three to four feet long."

It sounded interesting, so I contacted Dr. Falanruw to see if it was actually unknown. She was kind enough to provide an identification of the fish: Cymbacephalus beauforti, or crocodilefish.

But, she notes that she is currently working on the description of a new reptile from the region, so zoological discovery continues, even in a fairly well-known part of the world.

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