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Eating - strange food

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163257.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:54 am Reply with quote

What's the oddest thing that this fish eats?

Answer: Monkeys.

According to the folk at the London Aquarium (who have one, and from whom I'm awaiting more details), the golden arowana (Luciocyprinus striolatus) can jump several metres out of the Mekong waters and grab birds and even small monkeys from the overhanging branches. It takes them down into the depths and drowns them before eating.

Maybe room for other weird and unexpected things that other animals eat. Like koalas and their mother's faeces...

163265.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:11 am Reply with quote

That's great.

163293.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:44 am Reply with quote

Yes, we all liked this one.

In Nam Thun, there is an endemic fish, Luciocyprinus striolatus, which can grow to 60 kg, and according to local people is known to eat monkeys. Although found in other tributaries, it is not known from mainstream channels.

Luciocyprinus striolatus is a large predator living in deep pools within large mountain rivers in the upper sections of the Mekong Basin, in the Lao PDR and PR China (from where it was scientifically described in 1986). It is distinguished from the only other member of the genus by the 5-8 longitudinal black stripes on the body of the adult. Fishers have reported that this species can grow up to 150 cm. Its large size and wide mouth have provided for a fierce reputation. For instance, it has been referred to as the “monkey-eating fish”! Although it is highly unlikely that monkeys constitute part of its diet, such stories certainly add to the mystery that is already fueled by the rarity of the fish.

163296.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:55 am Reply with quote

Were we not a bit worried by this:

it is highly unlikely that monkeys constitute part of its diet


163301.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:00 am Reply with quote

Yes - I think that's the bit that Chris is chasing down.

163342.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:40 am Reply with quote

In the worst case (i.e. not seeing a 'definitive' report) we can always say that the London Aquarium is our source and that doubters should go argue with them.

I see no reason why it couldn't catch them though - it certainly does jump pretty high, and there are plenty of little monkeys there. I expect it goes for anything that moves.

163347.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:46 am Reply with quote

Seems a bit watery to me. I just think that we're opening pandora's quibble-box if we claim it's definitely true.

Of course it's not my decision, I'm just putting it down on record for when the angry mob turn up with the tar and feathers.

163357.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:07 am Reply with quote

Something the lecturer said was that the Japanese like to keep one or two in tanks because it is a symbol of power - they call then 'dragon fish' because they're such nasty predators.

This would be why they're endangered (not helped by the delta water quality either, I expect).

Mentioned here too, but under a different Latin name (Scleropages formosus). Peculiarly, the PDF is entitled 'Elephant Spawning Rituals'!

Wiki's page on them (or the one I think it is) is here:

163399.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:11 pm Reply with quote

Not exactly strange food, but an unexpected level of an ingredient in a report in today's Guardian. I'm sure most of us were sort of aware of this, but maybe not of the levels. The 'sugar level higher in chilli chicken than in vanilla ice cream' was a surprise to me, as was the 'sugar in processed cheese' thing.

A survey published today by the consumer watchdog Which? reveals that large amounts of sugar can be found in savoury, low-fat and "slimming" foods, but that may not be clear because of complicated labelling.

...savoury meals such as Asda's sticky chilli chicken and Tesco's crispy beef with sweet chilli sauce contain more than three times the amount per portion that the government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) says is high. The meals also contain more sugar per gram than vanilla ice cream.

...Which? says that checking for sugar on food labels can be confusing for shoppers as it comes in many different forms: corn sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, glucose syrup, high-fructose glucose syrup, honey, invert sugar, invert sugar syrup, isoglucose, levulose, maltose, molasses, sucrose and sucrose syrup, among others. These can be listed separately but add up.

To confuse matters further, labelling of sugar is voluntary, except on products claiming to be "low sugar".

Labels also list ingredients in descending order of weight. An Alpen raspberry with yoghurt bar lists glucose syrup fourth, and sugar, milk lactose and dextrose lower down. The labelling on the Alpen bar gives no details of specific sugar content, although this information is online....

This year, a Guardian investigation found that our food is getting sweeter, with snacks including some crisps being flavoured with dextrose and lactose, and some processed cheeses containing 6% sugars.

163616.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:51 am Reply with quote

If we were to ask the panel to point out the part of the body that sweetbreads come from, do you think most of them would point to the groinal region? I would have until yesterday (admittedly it’s been some decades since I last ate meat, but even so ...)

163619.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:05 am Reply with quote

Maybe, maybe. Whoever was writing Straight Dope in the early days did have a consistently amusing turn of phrase:

They're called sweetbreads for the obvious reason that if you called them thymus glands or whatever you couldn't give the damn things away.

163621.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am Reply with quote

In humans the thymus is found in the middle of the upper chest. It enlarges during childhood and atrophies during puberty, gradually shrinking until by the time you're 70 it's gone altogether. Its function is to contribute to the immune system.

What effect does puberty have on your sweetbreads?

163624.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:19 am Reply with quote

Why has Arthur (Smith) got smaller sweetbreads than David (Mitchell)?

or How do I know that ...

163631.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:38 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:

What effect does puberty have on your sweetbreads?


Noodling around the internet, I get the impression that thinking sweetbreads are bolleaux is a British error; the altogether more proper Americans think they are brains. So possibly some opportunity for creative confusion if put to a mixed panel?

163645.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:14 am Reply with quote

And there's me thinking they were the pancreas.

Oh, they are. There are two kinds!


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