Wednesday 19 October 2011

Tripod Fish

It must be so strange. You take a submersible or a remotely operated underwater vehicle into the deep sea. You fiddle around with the controls, the lighting and camera equipment so you can see what you're looking at. You reach the ocean floor and what do you find? Camera equipment!

Like the more patient photographers, the Tripod Fish is a great fan of remaining completely motionless. They don't, however, appear too fond of relaxing on the sludge and slime that dominates the sea floor at depths of 900 to 4,700 m (2,950 to 15,400 ft). They've come up with a novel solution. Stilts!

The Tripod Fish is only about 30 cm (1 foot) long, but they have long fin rays sticking out of their pelvic fins and the lower half of their tail fin. These can be almost a metre (3 foot 3) in length! Resting on them like a tripod allows the Tripod Fish to just sit back and wait for whatever they're waiting for. Or perhaps just have a nice, long think.

These musings will occasionally be rudely interrupted by a shrimp or small fish, which is fine for our living Tripod because that stuff is FOOD.

Tripod Fish have teeny tiny eyes which appear quite useless in their dark abode. Instead, they hold their pectoral fins up and use them like antennae, sensing the movement of prey in the water. Facing upstream means that any current will deliver food straight to them without need of getting up and using valuable energy. Every day's a lie-in!

They can swim when they want to, though, And when they do, those long fin extensions appear remarkably flexible when you think that they're supposed to rigidly hold the Tripod Fish up off the floor.

There is one time when they may consider a bit of a swim. Then again they might not bother - Tripod Fish are hermaphrodites, they have both male and female sexual organs. Presumably, when 2 Tripods meet they can fertilize each others eggs just in case they never see another Tripod ever again. Perhaps they can even fertilize their own eggs in case they never see a Tripod their entire life.

Hang on in there, Tripod Fish. I'm sure true love is just around the corner!


  1. Attach an archer fish and a trigger fish and you've got yourself a sniper fish.

  2. Haha! Oh, man. There really is a fish for every purpose.