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10 fishy facts about burbots

1. Bringing up burbot

A female burbot will lay millions of eggs, spraying them everywhere and hoping some survive. She’ll also make frequent appearances on Jeremy Kyle.

2. Beauty’s only skin deep

The burbot looks like a giant tadpole with a grumpy expression and it detects prey using a barbel on its chin.

Fat, flabby, disgusting. Meet the burbot

Brett Westwood hears some of the less flattering names given to this fish.

3. Party animals

Burbot tend to be inactive during the day but liven up at dusk and are predatory at night. Rather like teenagers.

4. Get your skates on

Burbot spawn in February under ice. This should not be confused with Spawning on Ice, the big new Saturday night show on ITV.

5. Lovely large livers

It was once said that French housewives would sell their souls for a burbot liver. The livers are rich in vitamins and grow to around 10% of the fish’s bodyweight.

'It's like having a liver the size of your leg'

Steve Simpson from the University of Exeter explains why burbot have such large livers.

6. Deep deep down

Adult burbots prefer deep, cold water. Well, they don’t really prefer it but it’s the only way they can get away from the kids.

7. Fresh cod

Burbot are the only member of the cod family to live in fresh water.

8. Forgotten fish

The burbot is thought to be extinct in Britain. The last confirmed sighting was in Cambridgeshire in 1969. A reward for catching and recording one remains unclaimed.

Burbot specimen © The trustees of NHM, London

9. Pig out

Burbots were once so common in England they were fed to hogs, according to a book written in 1590.

10. Fish from hell

In Siberia, Shamanic cults used the burbot as a link to the underworld. Eating burbot was taboo.

Source: Natural Histories

Burbot Comedy


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