Bubba, We'll Miss You
By Sarah Dahnke in Miscellaneous on Aug 24, 2006 8:15PM
It’s been one hell of a day for animal news already, but this story isn’t about rabid bats or geese with the runs. No, it’s about our old friend Bubba the Queensland grouper, who died Tuesday at the Shedd Aquarium at an estimated age of 24.
Bubba was no ordinary fish. In 1987, he arrived at the Shedd in a bucket with a note asking the aquarium to care for the little grouper because he was getting too big for a fish tank. The fishy, originally born with lady parts because Queensland groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites, was slated to be named Barbie until she magically became a he. According to the Shedd, this gender switching process is perfectly normal, as it “is an adaptation among a number of families of fishes to maximize reproduction.”
Bubba was placed in the Wild Reef shark habitat and grew to a whopping 154 pounds. He was living the good life as a kept fish until 2001, when things took a downward turn for the grouper. He got a bacterial infection that antibiotics failed to treat. He underwent two biopsies, which revealed a malignant tumor above his eyes. In 2002, Bubba became the first fish to ever receive chemotherapy, earning him the title of the “super grouper.” He became a hero to young cancer patients as he battled a cancer relapse and was victorious all over again. The Hope Children’s oncology division in Oak Lawn even dedicated a tile to Bubba.
"Bubba overcame some incredible odds over the years, and that's what made him so special to us. His story of survival inspired so many of our guests and the public that followed him," George Parsons, director of the aquarium's fishes department, told Reuters today.
It is believed that Bubba died of natural causes due to his age and rough medical history.
Bubba, our next Chicagoist toast is in your honor.
Image via crispyteriyaki.