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Focus on; Port Augusta's native Trolley fish


Today, a quick highlight on Port Augusta's lesser known but widely spread native fish, The Trolley Fish.
The Trolley Fish, although spotted in numerous locations across the globe, is well known to locals and leading scientific journals to be endemic to Port Augusta, South Australia.
Known to be regularly spotted both in fresh and salt water the Trolley Fish is truly an adaptable and hardy creature. This has lead to the species being spotted in various locations around the globe but never in schools larger than five to ten. However for the first time, just this month, divers have discovered what was long thought to be a myth, A super-colony. Located in the tidal waters off Port Augusta, in truly staggering numbers, some 500 of the species were spotted in this dive and it's beginning to draw questions from the scientific community of what we truly know of this beautiful creature.

You would not be amiss to make the correlation between the Trolley fish with it's more land based cousin the 'Land Trolley' or as it is known more colloquially "The shopping trolley".
Although there is a stunning physical similarity between the two, their differences are more akin to that of a salamander and an axolotl. The new research reflects a similar set of traits as well.
Nearly every trolley (both land and sea based) begins their life in the ocean as an infantile baskopod before the development of their more advance traversal and aeration tools, the wheels.
This is where the species diverge as the land trolley then, (through a very sophisticated metamorphosis) converts its entire internal anatomy to be warm blooded and as such makes the transition to land. This process is very difficult for the creature and very often the defects caused in the process lead to lifelong mobility issue with often one and regularly all of its wheels becoming stiff and nigh on uncontrollable, even with assistance.

The Trolley Fish however, does not make that change instead opting to use it's nearly formed wheels to filter oxygen and sustenance from the surrounding water.
A process that, over millions of years of evolution, it has become so efficient at that it nearly never is required to move from the area it was born. Despite this, the Trolley fish is still an incredibly adept swimmer often found out at sea many kilometers despite little to no known methods of propulsion.
It is at this point the current research falls in a hole, despite the nearly limitless lifespans of these creature we have never observed them congregate or breed before.

Causing a great deal of excitement in the scientific community, it appears, much as the cuttlefish do in the nearby waters off the coast of Whyalla, that this super colony has come together in these numbers to breed.
If that happens to be true, we will surely be witnessing a once in a life time experience.

The Trolley fish, a truly remarkable creature.


Photo Credit: ABC