Friday 24 August 2012

The Little Red Coffinfish

This must be the most adorable thing associated with a coffin, ever! Even better than that sexy vampire you were thinking you might marry. It would never work, you know. You're far better off cuddling this cheeky, little strawberry!

It's Chaunacops coloratus, a 20 cm (8 in) long Deep Sea Anglerfish in the Chaunacidae family. Members of this particular family are also known as Coffinfish or Sea Toads. Despite these ominous names with their suggestions of grim death and ugliness, we are instead confronted with a twinkly-eyed dumpling who may well be whistling a merry tune as she frolics her way to grand larks and high adventure.

They don't frolic that much, but they do walk on the sea floor using specially adapted fins, much as their Frogfish relatives do in coral reefs. And then there's the fishing rod and bait sprouting from their head. This is pretty much standard issue for Anglerfish, and allows our rotund hero to relax as she lures prey toward her with minimal effort. She won't get her money back if it takes more than 30 minutes, but it's a pretty good deal nonetheless.

They're even kinda furry! Hugs and cuddles!
Interestingly enough, C. coloratus doesn't always have the colour of a cherub's blush; smaller individuals are actually blue. It's thought these may be youngsters who drift around in the sea, turning red and taking to the sea floor as they mature.

This rosy bundle of delight was first described in 1899 from a trawl in Panama, but not until 2002 was it finally seen alive and properly wonderful off the coast of California. You really have to wonder... like the internet and mobile phones, how on earth did people manage to survive so long without it?


TexWisGirl said...

pretty darn adorable and pretty! :)

laughed at your description of the wood duck today. :)

Crunchy said...

Looks like she fell on a Q-tip!

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: A pleasure!

@Crunchy: Oooo... Forcibly so. Ouch!