"For a fish who spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages who would hear his story", Bridget C. Coughlin, Shedd Aquarium's president and chief executive officer, told AP. The fish's exact age is impossible to pinpoint, according to the aquarium, but officials there think Granddad was near the century mark, given that Australian lungfish can live to be 100 and he was fully grown when he first came to them.
A 90-year-old Australian lungfish called Grandad, believed to be the longest-living fish in a zoological environment, has been euthanized in a Chicago aquarium.
The fish can live up to 100 years old, and is known as a species with a low mortality rate.
One of two lungfishes acquired from the Taronga Zoo and Aquarium in Sydney, Australia during Shedd's 1933 Pacific collecting expedition, Granddad was seen by 104 million guests over eight decades of residency.
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"In 1992, Granddad was taken off exhibit while his space was incorporated into the double Southeast Asian Streams habitat", said the Shedd statement. In 2013, Granddad celebrated his 80th anniversary at Shedd.
It was at that same party that the aquarium reckons Granddad had his fanciest-ever meal: a layered cake "filled with smelt, shrimp, yellow squash, carrots, potatoes, and green peas, decorated with seaweed, esca-role and silversides". Of course, numerous aquarium's regulars were deeply saddened to find out that the old timer had to be put down, and remembered how they first met the world's oldest lungfish.
The loss is most personal for those who cared for him daily.
Pathologists have carried out a necropsy and "confirmed the fish's age-related deterioration", according to the aquarium.