We’ve spent a lot of time working with barramundi, but they continue to surprise us. Here’s our running list of fun facts about this remarkable fish. How many of these do you know?
- Fact 1 Barramundi’s native waters span from Northern Australia up to Southeast Asia and all the way west to the coastal waters of India and Sri Lanka.
- Fact 2 Barramundi is known by many around the world as Asian Seabass, although its Scientific common name is Barramundi Perch. Some of the other names it’s called include: Giant Perch, Palmer, Cockup, Bekti, Nairfish, Silver Barramundi and Australian Seabass.
- Fact 3 The name barramundi is Aboriginal for “large-scaled silver fish.”
- Fact 4 Virtually all barramundi are born male, then turn into females when they are three to four years old. This means female barramundi can only be courted by younger men!
- Fact 5 Barramundi live in freshwater, saltwater and estuaries (where fresh and saltwater meet).
- Fact 6 Barramundi are catadromous fish, meaning that they are born in the ocean and live in freshwater — basically the opposite lifestyle of the salmon. However, they also are able to live purely in saltwater.
- Fact 7 A Barramundi’s age is determined by counting growth rings on their scales (much like counting growth rings on a tree).
- Fact 8 Large female barramundi can produce upwards of 32 million eggs in a season.
- Fact 9 Barramundi have been recorded to be over 4 feet long and weighing over 90 lbs!
- Fact 10 Barramundi can travel great distances in a lifetime; one fish was tagged and found 400 miles away.
- Fact 11 Juvenile barramundi have a distinguishing characteristic: the presence of a white dorsal head stripe when they’re between one and five centimeters long.
- Fact 12 Barramundi spawn on the full moon, and their iridescent skin can be seen shimmering through the water during their ‘love dance’. On that note…
Barramundi, A Love Story
An Aboriginal Folktale of the Fish of “Forbidden Love”
Long ago in the dream time there were no fish, so the people lived on animals, roots and berries. They were all content. That is, except for Boodi and Yalima; young lovers who wanted to marry but were forbidden because their tribe required Yalima to marry an elder so she could take care of him. Determined to be together, Boodi and Yalima ran away, knowing that to go against the Elders was punishable by death.
They ran far and wide, but were relentlessly chased by the tribal elders. Eventually, they came to the edge of the land where the water began, and they knew that in order to survive, they would have to stand their ground.
With the angry tribe descending upon them, they gathered wood and made as many spears as they could. But the tribesmen were too numerous, and soon the lover’s spears were all spent. Boodi turned to his beloved Yalima and said, “For us to be together, we must go into the sea to live.” And so they jumped off the cliff and descended into the water.
Boodi and Yalima are still there, in the shape of the Barramundi hiding amongst the mangroves. And the spines on the fin of the barramundi are said to be the spears thrown at them by the tribe.
Those who believe in the folktale say barramundi has special aphrodisiac qualities and call it by its other name: ‘Passion Fish’.