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San Francisco Lungfish is Over 90 Years Old

Credit: Unsplash

Many fish species, whether in their natural habitat or in captivity, typically have shorter lifespans, usually around ten years. However, there are exceptions among marine life that can live significantly longer due to various factors. One remarkable example resides at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco.

The exceptional fish is a lungfish called Methuselah, believed to be over 90 years old according to the aquarium staff’s estimations. Methuselah was first brought to San Francisco in 1938 at the age of around 7, shortly after the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. As a lungfish, Methuselah is a valuable specimen for her unique ability to breathe both underwater and on land, making her an intriguing link between aquatic creatures and amphibians.

Known for her discerning preferences, Methuselah has become one of the aquarium’s most demanding residents. She exclusively eats figs when in season and refuses to share her living space with other marine animals. In less favorable moods, she tends to play tricks.

According to the California Academy of Sciences Senior Biologist Allan Jan, Methuselah has a playful side that sometimes confuses onlookers. “Sometimes she’ll just start floating, tail up,” Jan described. “And then we’ll get a bunch of calls. ‘What’s wrong with the fish? What’s wrong with the fish!’ … To the public, it looks like she’s in distress.”

Moreover, as part of the aquarium’s routine care, Methuselah and other fish receive tactile interaction with handlers to help them adjust to aquarium life. In Methuselah’s case, this includes regular belly rub sessions with her caretaker, Jan.

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