Meet some of the most peculiar fish around - the lunged one, the expert archer and the one that ‘skips’ about on land.
First up is the Australian lungfish which can survive in stagnant water by gulping air into its modified swim bladder, which functions as a lung. It survives for short periods of time in this way, but unlike the African lungfish, cannot survive if its habitat dries up.
Lungfish have fleshy fins that resemble primitive limbs and are considered to the ancestors of land vertebrates. Australian lungfish have very long live span - `Granddad’ in Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, passed away in 2017, at what was estimated to be over 100 years old!
From its source in Booroobin, the Mary River flows north and empties into the Great Sandy Strait. This sand passage estuary is replicated in the exhibit’s mangrove area. Here, you’d see the archerfish, which catches insects from overhanging branches by shooting a jet of water from its mouth or even leaping out of the water to snatch them with its jaws. You’ll also meet the mudskipper, which can stay out of water for hours by absorbing oxygen through its moist skin and extracting oxygen from gulps of water it holds in its mouth.
The 70km long Great Sandy Strait spans an area of 932km2 and separates mainland Queensland from Fraser Island, a World Heritage Site. The touch pool recreates the marine ecosystem where Mary River finally tips into saline saltwater. Dip your hands in the water for a tactile encounter with marine species commonly found on the sea bed. You’ll come close to aquatic animals like the sea cucumber, chocolate chip sea star and horseshoe crab - a living fossil.