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Aichi aquarium displays invasive alligator gar caught in Nagoya Castle’s moat

Chunichi Shimbun

One of the alligator gars caught in the vast moat of Nagoya Castle last year has been turned into a specimen for display at Hekinan Seaside Aquarium in Aichi Prefecture, giving visitors the chance to fully observe the long carnivorous fish indigenous to North America.

The taxidermy was conducted by Yoshinori Taniguchi, assistant professor of fish ecology at Nagoya-based Meijo University’s Faculty of Science and Technology. He got in contact with the aquarium, which is proactively engaged in displaying invasive alien species to educate the public about them.

Once the museum agreed to take the specimen, the fish was brought in for preservation on June 1. Taniguchi soaked it in formalin before proceeding with the taxidermy.

The long, slim alligator gar was male and was 1.39 meters long, with hard scales and sharp teeth like a crocodile.

The formalin-filled aquarium tank also contained a 1.12-meter alligator gar that was captured in the Yahagifurukawa river in the city of Nishio in 2011 and is now owned by the aquarium.

The Environment Ministry plans to add the alligator gar to its list of invasive alien species in April 2018, and the aquarium has a panel informing visitors that anyone caught raising the fish without permission once the designation is finalized can be fined.

It is likely that the two fish on display used to be pets that were dumped in the wild by their owners.

“If you decide to raise an aquarium fish, you need to know how big it will get and take responsibility for it until the end,” said Yoshizumi Chimura, 44, a curator at the aquarium.

The exhibition is open to the public until the end of the year.

This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on July 1.