Lough Melvin in Ireland is home to the Gillaroo (Salmo stomachicus; historically included in Salmo trutta), a species of trout which eats primarily snails. Gillaroo is derived from the Irish for Red Fellow (Giolla Rua). This is due to the fishes distinctive colouring.
It has a bright buttery golden colour in its flanks with bright crimson and vermilion spots. The gillaroo is characterised by deep red spots and a "gizzard" which is used to aid the digestion of hard food items such as water snails.
Experiments carried out by Queens University Belfast established that the Lough Melvin fish are different from brown trout found anywhere else in the world. They feed almost exclusively on bottom living animals (snails, sedge fly larva and freshwater shrimp) except during late summer. It is at this time that they come to surface to feed and may be caught on the dry fly. Other lakes reputed to contain the gillaroo are Loughs Neagh, Conn, Mask and Corrib. However the unique gene found in the Lough Melvin trout has not been found in some 200 trout populations in Ireland and Britain. It is therefore now recognized using its own original scientific name, rather than continued inclusion in the widespread Salmo trutta, with which it had been synonymized.
Legend has it that St. Brigid was offered chicken to eat on a Friday as she walked through Garrison, County Fermanagh (a big no-no to Catholics) and she was so enraged she threw the entire bird into the river where it changed into a fish, hence the "gizzard".
Gillaroo Lodge Nursing Home is situated on an elevated site in Larne, with superb views over Larne Lough and beyond.
Mar 25, 2011; Gillaroo Lodge Nursing Home is situated on an elevated site in Larne, with superb views over Larne Lough and beyond. But...