An Alaskan fisherman documented a vibrant, orange-speckled catch that has natural blue flesh, and he shared what the fish looks like when cooked.
Joe Chmeleck, owner of The Lodge at Otter Cove, in Homer, Alaska, reeled in a rock greenling late last month, according to posts he shared on Facebook and Instagram.
"Went out fishing today and caught a rock greenling," Chmeleck wrote on Aug. 28. "The flesh is blue. It turns white when you cook it. Mother nature is incredible."
In a follow-up video that Chmeleck posted to Facebook, he showed the fully-skinned blue fish fillets changed color when pan-fried in oil.
Many commenters under his social media posts wrote that they didn’t know a fish species like this existed.
"What a incredible beautiful looking fish," one Facebook user wrote.
"That's pretty crazy. I've never seen anything like that," an Instagram user wrote.
"That’s amazing!! Had no idea such a fish existed," another Facebook user wrote.
In a statement, Chmeleck said the rock greenling he caught tasted similar to trout.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been unable to offer consumption advice on rock greenlings because the agency hasn’t been successful in gathering a sufficient sample size to determine mercury levels for the species.
Rock greenlings, also known as Hexagrammos lagocephalus, are a ray-finned marine fish that are typically found along the northern Pacific Coast, from the Point Conception State Marine Reserve in California to the Bering Sea in Alaska, according to various government wildlife records.
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife both state rock greenlings possess dark scales that have a "mottled" pattern, which can range from brown, red, orange and green, so the fish species can blend in with rocky environments.
While the fish seems to have evolved for camouflaging, rock greenlings have blue or blue-green mouths and flesh, according to both wildlife agencies.
Scientists aren’t certain why rock greenlings have blue-green pigments in their tissue, but they know the coloring happens because the fish biologically produce biliverdin, a green bile, according to the Oregon Sea Grant, a marine research foundation.
Rock greenlings feed on sea worms, crustaceans, and small fishes, according to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Typically, the fish species can grow up to 24 inches in length and weigh up to 1.83 pounds, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Chmeleck’s posts about the fish have generated over 1,000 reactions, 600 comments and 3,700 shares on Facebook and Instagram combined.