Fish Are Becoming Sex-Crazed Due To High Levels Of Antidepressants In Our Rivers Claim Scientists

Our wildlife is getting a little bit wilder.

Fish Jumping Out Of The Water.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Our wildlife is getting a little bit wilder.

Filthy rivers riddled with antidepressants, such as Prozac, are having a very unusual effect on the fish who live there, claim scientists.

The massive quantity of antidepressants which taint our waters are causing fish to become unusually horny and hellbent on making out.

The expression ‘cold as a fish’ does not ring turn in rivers where Prozac runs like tap water. The popular antidepressants are making our scaly friends red hot with passion and what the French call Joie de vivre.

The Mirror reports that scientists at Monash University have discovered that fish under the influence of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, spent far more time chasing ‘tail’ or to use the correct terminology ‘female fish’ than their counterparts who are free of antidepressants.

Why is this?

Scientist Michael Bertram believes he knows the answer. During a lab study Mr Bertram dosed male mosquitofish with Prozac and sat back to watch the results.

Writing in Science Trends, Mr. Bertram found that the fish on antidepressants demonstrated “more frequent copulatory behavior” and actively pursued the female of the species.

“In one-on-one mating trials, males in the high-fluoxetine treatment performed more frequent copulatory behavior towards females than did males in the unexposed treatment.”

Obviously, antidepressants are a powerful drug and what works for the gander also works for the goose. In other words, Prozac has a profound effect on the biological chemistry of a fish just as it does a human being.

Mr. Bertram said, “Fluoxetine can cause a wide range of adverse effects in aquatic species, including disrupting development and reproduction and altering morphological and physiological traits.”

This is all well and good but how did Prozac end up in the ecosystem in the first place?

Two fish jumping together.
  Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

It’s as simple as a pimple. Our water systems cannot filter out Fluoxetine, the active ingredient, and so it winds its merry way into our rivers and consequently, our wildlife.

Alarmingly Prozac is not the only pharmaceutical drug which is contaminating the natural world. There’s a whole host of others, some legal and some illegal. One, in particular, being cocaine which scientists fear is causing fish to become hyperactive.

In 2016 scientists found traces of cocaine and a cocktail of 80 other drugs in fish located in Seattle.

in 2014 a study for the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry found that certain fish were becoming intersex due to drugs such as insulin entering the water supply

“It has been suggested that the prevalence of intersex fish in certain watersheds may be the result of… a cocktail of potential and known endocrine disruptors.”

Whatever the case. There’s certainly something fishy going, or perhaps, getting on!