The History of King’s Lynn in 100 Objects, Number 5: Opah fish is a mystery visitor

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In the Lynn Museum, visitors can see quite a few examples of the natural world. indeed, our very first object in this series was Horace, the tiger who greets all the visitors to our museum (safely stuffed behind glass in reception).

Today’s object is not quite so large but is certainly almost as exotic.

It is a stuffed and mounted fish caught some 30 years ago in the Great Ouse River, near Lynn and presented to the Museum.

It’s an Opah fish (Lampris guttatus), also known as a Sun fish or Moon fish, an extremely rare find.

Opah fish are more at home in warmer tropical and sub-tropical waters.

The brightly coloured fish is almost circular.

In life it is a fast swimmer and capable hunter, able to catch fast swimming fish and squid. Opah generally stay away from land and live out in the open ocean.

It is common to locations such as Hawaii and west Africa but is also sometimes found in the Mediterranean.

So, what was it doing in the river at Lynn?

Perhaps this unusual and beautiful specimen represents King’s Lynn’s historic maritime connections and its status as an historic port and gateway to the seas and oceans of the world?