Mystery fish is found far from home

A highly unusual fish hitched a ride in a load of firewood Ilwaco resident Paul Leback brought back from Sand Island last weekend. Leback noticed the fish lying on the ground while unloading his wood. It was fresh and undamaged in any way — unlikely to have been dropped by a bird — so Leback surmises it was living in a pivot in the drift logs he harvested. Despite being familiar with oddball North Pacific fish from his years of commercial fishing, Leback couldn’t identify it. “There is a very good reason why you don’t recognize this fish,” federal research fisheries biologist Daniel J. Kamikawa said Jan. 27. “It’s because they aren’t native to most of North America. This fish is a member of the Cichlidae — Cichlids (pronounced sick lid). … They are most at home in tropical and sub-tropical waters this is one of the few that I’ve heard of from a temperate climate outside their native range. “

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