I read with utter fascination the news about the fish that suckles its young A team of biologists from Denmark, led by Prof Skov of the University of Copenhagen, have discovered a fish that suckles its young. Even more surprising the young suckle while still within their mother's body. The fish that has thrown up the surprise is European eelpout (Zoarces viviparus). Eelpout is found near the coastal waters throughout large parts of Europe, from the southern parts of the English Channel to the Baltic Sea and the White Sea.
Eelpout has pregnancies, lasting approximately six months and give birth to large baby fish quite disproportionate to its size. Scientists say the suckling explains why it can give birth to large, live baby fish.
Other fish, such as guppies and mollies, also give birth to live young but they have short gestation times lasting a few weeks or less, and their embryos feed on yolk from egg sacs within their mother's body.
Details of the discovery are published in the latest issue of Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.