True Colours
Angler's Mail|October 01, 2019
True Colours
The well-travelled freshwater biologist and top angler brings you his fascinating weekly insight into the secret lives of fish.
Dr Ian Welch

Q Over my many years of fishing gravel pits I have landed roach with gold patches on their heads, most recently a 3 oz sample from Broome Pits, in Norfolk. Can you shed some light on them and how they come about? Dave Gladwell, Ellingham, Suffolk.

A Many species of fish exhibit apparently random patches of colour, which are an interesting phenomenon, though not very common.

Fish exhibit a diverse range of colouration, and this is governed by specialised pigment cells (chromatophores) that are situated in the skin. The chromatophores are not only responsible for the natural ‘base’ colour of a fish, but also give them the ability to change colour rapidly, usually in response to changes in turbidity or to physiological changes, such as those related to stress and social or sexual interactions.


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October 01, 2019