Variations: Heluo-fish, Never-Old Bird
The Heluo Zhi Yu or Heluo-fish can be found in China’s Tower River. These unusual fishes have one head and ten bodies each, and bark like dogs. Eating them cures tumors.
According to Yang Shen’s encomium, a heluo-fish can transform itself into a Never-Old Bird, which steals rice grains from threshing pestles, falls into the mortar, and dies.
The single head and multiple tails may be a description of an octopus.
Mathieu, R. (1983) Étude sur la mythologie et l’ethnologie de la Chine ancienne. Collège de France, Paris.
Strassberg, R. E. (2002) A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. University of California Press.