Sought-af­ter blue mar­ron de­mys­ti­fied

Great Southern Herald - - News - Gareth Thomas

These strik­ing blue mar­ron are found in the wild through­out the South West and Great South­ern and have been a pop­u­lar ad­di­tion to lounge room aquar­i­ums for at least 30 years, but why are they blue?

The Great South­ern Her­ald spoke with Depart­ment of Fish­eries’ prin­ci­pal re­search sci­en­tist for fresh­wa­ter fish pro­duc­tion Craig Lawrence to learn more about these crus­taceans.

Dr Lawrence said the bright blue hue of the mar­ron is due to a ge­netic mu­ta­tion but they are the same species as the com­mon black and brown mar­ron.

He said it was a sim­ple re­ces­sive gene be­ing ex­pressed that gave the nor­mally black or brown crea­tures their dis­tinc­tive blue colour­ing.

“They used to be very, very rare un­til peo­ple started farm­ing them,” he said. “If you mate two blue mar­ron, you will get blue prog­eny but if you mate a black and a blue, you will get mainly black prog­eny and if you mate those prog­eny to­gether, you will get some blues too.”

Dr Lawrence said the blue mar­ron had been cul­ti­vated for the or­na­men­tal mar­ket as they fetched a good price from peo­ple want­ing to use them in aquar­i­ums.

“But you wouldn’t re­ally want to have blue mar­ron in a com­mer­cial food mar­ron farm,” he said. This is be­cause the blue mar­ron turn an orange colour rather than the bright red as­so­ci­ated with cooked cray­fish.

“Restau­rants pre­fer the dark black or brown mar­ron be­cause they cook up a bright red,” Dr Lawrence said.

“It’s an amaz­ing re­source to have in WA and I think we should re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate. “Mar­ron is the third largest fresh­wa­ter cray­fish in the world and over­seas ... mar­ron are re­ally very highly re­garded out­side of Aus­tralia and I think we take our rather unique fish for granted.”

Pic­ture: morsel­s_perth/In­sta­gram

These blue mar­ron were caught in the Great South­ern.

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