Fish Ratings – Mexico City – November 20:
Fish Ratings has downgraded and withdrawn the ratings for Blind Swamp Eel. The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The downgrade to ‘B’ from ‘B+’ reflects fundamental challenges and mis-execution of the fish’s strategy in recent years, which Fish Ratings believes are unlikely to abate in the near term. The downgrade also reflects intensified pollution in the deep, dark caves where it makes its mucus-smeared burrow.
It is creature repulsive to human sight, with its pale worm-like body and no eyes. It feeds on bat guano, the droppings of swallows and any small shrimp that stray into its lair.
Arthur Sperry Pearse was born in 1877 on a Pawnee Indian Reservation in Nebraska. The Indians were relocated to Oklahoma at around that time and the reservation was sold, but that is another story. In any case, young Arthur possessed two particular characteristics that would make him an able zoologist: A strong taste for active life, lived outdoors, and a fascination with animals, birds and fish.
In 1936, A.S. Pearse, now almost 60 years old, was exploring the damp limestone caves of the Yucatán Peninsula when he came across this unslightly eel and, unlike a layperson, did not recoil in horror but instead felt the thrill of discovery quicken his heartbeat.
He recovered a specimen and it was soon transported thousands of miles away to the office of a like-minded man, Dr. Carl Leavitt Hubbs, curator of fish at the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, who had only recently returned from an expedition to remote Guatemala himself.
There may have been a darker side to Hubbs’ personality, however, given his predilection for bestowing diabolical names on fish, particularly those that dwell underground. This tendency seems to have reached its peak with this particular sightless creature, which he called Pluto infernalis.
Later scholars toned down the hellish imagery when they transferred the Blind Swamp Eel to the genus Ophisternon, rechristening it Ophisternon infernale.
Fish Ratings has withdrawn Blind Swamp Eel’s ratings for commercial reasons. Fish Ratings reserves the right in its sole discretion to withdraw or maintain any rating at any time for any reason it deems sufficient.
Photo by Gustavo Gerdel under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.