Friday 30 January 2015

Spine-chilling football fish gives kick to Kerry's hopes

Published 03/08/2009 | 00:00

Marine biologist Kevin Flannery examines the rare football fish which was caught in Irish waters

IT ain't pretty, but the discovery of a rare Atlantic football fish is being hailed in the Kingdom as a good omen for Kerry's crucial All-Ireland showdown with Dublin.

Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist at Dingle Aquarium, described the fish as having "plenty of back bone" -- it lies in wait to lure other fish to their doom.

The deep-living and decidedly ugly all-black Himantolophos groenlandicus is seldom seen.

This one was brought up in a haul of fish off Rockall island in the Atlantic and then brought to Mr Flannery for identification.


The football fish resembles a monkfish, but with spikes -- the spikes are really an extension of its back bone. The fish can grow to around two feet, Mr Flannery explained.

A luminous growth in their head acts as a lure -- smaller fish approach the light and the football fish swallows them in a single gulp. The specimen is being sent to the Natural History Museum for preservation.

Meanwhile, Kerry football fan Brendan O'Connor, of Beaufort, in Killarney, was also getting in on the action by painting his Chinese goose in the Kerry colours.

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