First #FishInThePost – Bream

What to do with 20 spare blank postcards? Such an opportunity arose after a fundraiser that I ran with my colleague Dani Rabaiotti. I sat with 20 blank postcards for over six months, and chewed over ideas of what to do with them, knowing I couldn’t just let them go to waste.

Passionate about underwater beasties (or critters if you prefer), fishes in particular, and having started a new blog along with colleagues Tara and James here in the FIRE Lab, it slowly came to me… FISH-ART POSTCARDS and blog posts about the fishes! On top of that, bringing some of the freshwater fishes in Wales above the surface and into people’s minds and eyes. Voila! The birth of #FishInThePost!

But how does this #FishInThePost work? It all kicked-off yesterday, Thursday 18 October, and will continue with 20 subsequent posts every second Thursday! So our next tweet will be on 1st November. The idea is that we here at FIRE Lab will tweet out (from our account: @FireLabTweets) a fish-art post card of the week along with a question for anyone to answer – the first to respond to our tweet with the correct answer to our question will receive the fish-art postcard in the mail from FIRE Lab! We’ll then share a post about the week’s #FishInThePost species here on our blog, and ‘reveal’ the answer to our question here, and on Twitter. We’ll then send out the fish-art postcard to the person who first guessed the correct answer.

What about this week’s #FishInThePost? Yesterday, we tweeted this week’s #FishInThePost species, which features a Bream and is pictured below, along with a related question about the fish. Our question was: ‘In what country is bream famous for something other than being a fish?’

IMG_20181017_083313~2

Before we answer that, what else is there to know about Bream in Wales, and the UK more broadly? Bream are medium-sized (30-40 cm, 12-16 inches) and a member of the carp family. The fish share a similar shape to others in the carp family, can you tell that from the sketch below? It is a bottom-feeding species, preying on worms, snails, and mussels. You can find bream in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers where they are known to congregate in fairly large shoals, shifting up the benthos, creating a sandy, mucky, show as they move along. Bream undertake within river or lake to river migration, being potamodromous, with populations starting spawning migration in autumn, and again in spring in the northern hemisphere.

The species does not only occur in Wales and the rest of the UK, but also extends across most European catchments apart from the Mediterranean basin, and into some drainage basins of west Asia. While Bream are pretty widespread, they are currently considered the only species in the genus Abramis. That little factoid leads us to the Bream’s scientific name, Abramis brama, and further to the answer of this week’s #FishInThePost question! Hooray!

So, we asked you in what country bream is famous for something other than being a fish, and that was sort of a sneaky question, because we asked about Bream, and did not use the scientific/Latin name… However, if you do a quick search of Google for Abramis brama, one of the first things that appears is a rock band in Sweden, adopting the same name as this week’s #FishInThePost! Of course we assumed that since the band came before the fish species in our Google search returns, it must be famous! The realities of how well known the band is, is another matter altogether, but we thought you all might be as surprised, and enjoy knowing, that there is a rock band out there named after our silvery,  muck stirring, worm-eating, Bream! Maybe the band adopted the name because Bream can survive out of the water for extended periods of time, who knows, we couldn’t uncover the mystery! If you find out, do let us know!

Thanks for joining in this first edition of #FishInThePost! We look forward to posting off the Bream! Stay tuned for our next fishy post on 1 November!

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