A SPECIES of dangerous, stinging walking catfish have been discovered in a Lancashire river and anglers are being warned not to touch them.

Eight clarias catfish, also known as walking catfish, were recovered from the River Tonge by the Environment Agency.

The shock find came after a woman was stung by one when she was fishing near Radcliffe Road in Darcy Lever near Bolton. The clarias variety found are believed to be Asian.

They have spines that can penetrate the skin and they can also ‘walk’ using their pectoral fins.

The species can also breathe air through their mouths and not via their gills.

They use their front pectoral fins to move between different bodies of water on land, in almost a walking fashion and can survive out of water for upwards of 30 minutes.

Angler stung on finger by alien catfish

Gaynor Greene, aged 33, was fishing on Thursday when she encountered a large number of the fish and when she touched it was caught by one of its spines.

She said that it was only a light sting but did leave a tingling sensation and that it would definitely hurt a child.

Gaynor said: “My stepson said he had seen a catfish on the river on Tuesday.

“When we were there they stung me on the finger. It was quite a shock getting stung by a fish. I had never seen anything like it, I had no idea where they had come from.”

While fishing with maggots, Gaynor noticed the catfish were not taking the bait and found it unusual.

These catfish were removed from the river by the EA.

An EA spokeswoman said: “Our officer went on site to collect them and we don’t believe there are any more plus they wouldn’t survive in this climate for long. But if anyone sees an alien fish species they should call us on 0800 80 70 60.”

Local Angler’s Mail contributor Ian Chapman said: “I’ve not fished the river, it is just a stream really. It is shocking these fish have got in there.”

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