This was the last thing scientists thought they would observe while conducting a survey on shark prey near the Great Barrier Reef. But, the dark strange spots on brightly coloured orange fish caught their attention. First the dark spots were checked for microbial pathogens, but nothing appeared, so they “look[ed] deeper…”
Although this is the first recorded account of melanoma in wild fish, it more than likely isn’t a unique case. Because of the location of these fish habitat, they lie directly in the centre of the ozone hole, and are more likely to carry cancer-causing mutations in their DNA. Also, this habitat is at the limit of coral trout’s habitat, meaning the extreme conditions cause more stress and make these trout more vulnerable to disease.