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Rare golden weather loach to go on public display in Japan; name suggestions welcome

This photo shows the golden weather loach, above, and an ordinary brown one in Oe, Yamagata Prefecture, on April 23, 2021. (Mainichi/Jo Kamiuse)

OE, Yamagata -- A rare golden weather loach that was found in this northwestern Japan town will go on public display on April 29, and the public is being invited to suggest a name for the creature.

    The loach was found in a ditch in the mountainous Yanagawa district in the Yamagata Prefecture town of Oe by Ryuma Sasaki, the 42-year-old director of the "Yamasaabe" municipal nature experience facility that manages the area, and other staff on the evening of April 22. The group was clearing the ditch for rice paddies when they came across the animal, which is about 13 centimeters long. Sasaki is currently keeping it at his home before its display debut.

    Ryota Goto, a keeper at Kamo Aquarium in the city of Tsuruoka in the same prefecture, said, "Its gold color and red eyes make it a rare albino. It's about 3 years old now, and if kept carefully, these fish sometimes live for about 10 years. Its golden color is rare, and is a sign of good luck."

    Populations of many species including fireflies and dragonfly larvae, have apparently been increasing in the area. Sasaki said, "That is a proof that wildlife numbers are increasing thanks to chemical-free agriculture. We will keep striving to create a creature-friendly environment."

    (Japanese original by Jo Kamiuse, Tokyo Regional News Department)

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