Chelba

Synonyms:
Helbah, חֶלְבָּה
Chelba (Wikipedia)

Salema porgy
Sarpa salpa .jpg
Scientific classification
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Genus:
Sarpa

Bonaparte, 1831
Species:
S. salpa
Binomial name
Sarpa salpa

Sarpa salpa, known commonly as the dreamfish, salema, salema porgy, cow bream or goldline, is a species of sea bream, recognisable by the golden stripes that run down the length of its body, and which can cause hallucinations when eaten. It is found in the East Atlantic, where it ranges from the Bay of Biscay to South Africa, as well as in the Mediterranean. It has occasionally been found as far north as Great Britain. It is generally common and found from near the surface to a depth of 70 m (230 ft). Males are typically 15 to 30 cm (6–12 in) in length, while females are usually 31 to 45 cm (12–18 in). The maximum size is 51 cm (20 in).

Sarpa salpa became widely known for its psychoactivity following widely publicized articles in 2006, when two men ingested it at a Mediterranean restaurant and began to experience many auditory and visual hallucinogenic effects. These hallucinations, described as frightening, were reported to have occurred two hours after the fish was ingested and had a total duration of 36 hours.

The fish, and especially its viscera, have been assessed as potentially unsafe by a study conducted on Mediterranean specimens. It is believed that the fish ingests a particular algae or phytoplankton which renders it hallucinogenic. The effects described are similar to those of indole tryptamine psychedelics.

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