The Liquor Fish
The liquor fish, Trutta liquore, is a member of the trout family, and is mainly found in mountain streams in the Atlas region of northern Africa. Like other animals, the liquor fish, when making an anaerobic effort (meaning that the muscles have to produce energy without a sufficient supply of oxugen), produces alcohol as a by-product. In other species, this by-product is then simply ecavuated along with other cellular waste. But the liquor fish stores it in a special compartiment in his body, called the “liquor pouch”, which is situated near its intestines.
Prof. Andrew Daniels, of the University of Jacksville, believes that this peculiar morphological feature has evolved as a defense against predators. When eating the fish, they would get drunk off the aclohol, and that this would discourage further predation of the species.
Due to its effects, the fish was rarely hunted by humans in the region, most of them being muslims, and thus shunning alcohol. A few local tribes did catch the fish for special occasions of revelry, and there was a small but constant market for it with some muslims, who saw it as a way to bypass their religion's ban on alcohol, but the population seems to have remained stable up until the late 18th century, when french colonialists discovered its existence.
The french found its flesh to be delicious, and, finding that the inhebriation that inevitably followed the consumption of the fish only made the experience more pleasurable, started catching and selling it in earnest. It did not take long for the liquor fish to become a sought-after gourmet pleasure in France, and as commerce of the animal intensified, natural populations started to come under heavy pressure, and fell rapidly.
After decolonisation in the 60's, commerce continued to drive the species towards extinction, and it seemed that it would not be long before the liquor fish was no more. However, recent conflicts in the region have discouraged most to go look for it, and populations have been recovering slowly but steadily for the past ten years. Whether this trend will continue once the situation stabilizes remains to be seen.
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