Wednesday 16 July 2014

Armoured Searobin

Hey... Isn't that demonspawn? It looks like demonspawn. I could swear that's demonspawn!

We met Sea Robins some time ago. They were the large-headed, flat-bellied, bottom-dwelling fish who used their finger-like pectoral fin spines to crawl along the sea floor.

They were great, but I know what we were all asking:

When comes the demon version?

Image: NOAA
The wait is over. Armoured Searobins, also known as Armoured Gurnards, are like the deep sea version of normal Sea Robins and Gurnards. They seldom live deeper than about 300 metres (1,000 ft), which isn't very deep, but it's clearly deep enough for a touch of the infernal!

Image: 何宣慶
Armoured Searobins are some 45 species in the Peristediidae family, found in tropical waters across the world. They're named after the armour-plating of spiky, bony scutes that cover their body. Species who have a particularly large head and a particularly slim body look like a head and half a spine laying on the seabed.

It's as if someone killed a dragon but didn't properly conduct the rituals to ensure it would STAY dead. Add the bright red colour common in the family and it all looks rather gory.

Image: D Ross Robertson
On the underside near the mouth are a pair of barbels for sniffing out prey. These things are often very long and elaborate, looking something like plant roots or a bit of nerve cord waving around in the sea.

A lot of them also have devil horns! On their nose. I guess fish-devils do things differently.

Armoured Searobins also creepy-crawl across the ocean floor! They do so using four thick, flexible fin spines. This is different from the normal Sea Robins, who used six spines instead.

It's not uncommon for fishermen to catch these fish and have absolutely no idea what on earth they're looking at. Armoured Searobins make for a poor meal since there are a lot of bones and not a lot of meat on them.

I hope those fishermen are OK! Looking into the eyes of some Armoured Searobins it's clear they're looking right back and calculating the value of your soul...


TexWisGirl said...

wow! freaky and funky!

Crunchy said...

It's like someone smooshed together a bunch of spare parts into an animal. This thing is the platypus of the ocean.

Esther said...

It looks like a real life pokemon turned up to 11!

Crunchy said...

so Esther i herd u liek axlotl?

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: Yeah, you can see why so many people are a little shocked when they catch one!

@Crunchy: Every part of the world needs it's own platypus!

@Esther: Wow! Turns out things get REALLY good at 11!

Porakiya said...

looks like an alien!

Joseph JG said...

I know! It's not at all the kind of thing you'd expect to see on your fishing hook!

Ing said...

Caught and ate one on Saturday. It has an exoskeleton with a few lines of bones running from that into the flesh..which is more like that of a crab or crayfish and similar in taste. The exoskeleton stayed intact on the BBQ and flesh in tail came out easily in white flakes. It's not large so was nearly a taste so not to waste it's death.