Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Red-lipped Batfish

Ogcocephalus darwini
Give your auntie Ena a kiss, why don't you?

Image: Rein Ketelaars
Red-lipped Batfish are bizarre, 25 cm (10 in) long fish from the the Galapagos Islands. They belong to the Anglerfish family, alongside Frogfish, Monkfish and a whole host of other eccentrics who simply don't understand the obsession other fish seem to have with swimming all the time.

Batfish don't swim much, which is good because they're rubbish at it. Instead they walk around on modified pectoral and pelvic fins. They also stand on them as if they couldn't bear to get the dirty sea floor all over their underside. I'm sure they'd appreciate some wellington boots, too.

Image: Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific
Viewed from above, Red-lipped Batfish are triangular in shape. The pectoral fins, which in a normal fish would be just behind the eyes and gills, are way out on the corners of the triangle. Also their gill openings are situated behind the pectorals, nestled in what we might call their "armpits".

On their underside are the two pelvic fins which look like preposterously slender legs. They end up looking like one of those cartoon gorillas with huge, beefcake arms and titchy legs.


Video: PBS

The Johnny Bravo look is one problem. Another is their long, witch's nose. It bears a cavity where the nostrils would be, and within is what looks like three beads of snot slowly bouncing up and down.

Believe it or not, this is their lure.


As lures go it's hardly the most visually appealing. Apparently it emits some kind of chemical stuff into the water which might attract tiny fish and invertebrates. Basically, it smells delicious!

Unfortunately, any tasty morsel that gets too close will quickly disappear behind those heavily rouged lips. No-one's sure why those lips need to be quite so incredibly red, but it looks like they'd leave a good smear all over your cheeks.

Ena Sharples
Speaking of which, auntie Ena is still waiting...

4 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

so darn cute!!

Crunchy said...

He's the hero the ocean deserve- you know what, nobody ever seems to like this joke, so I'ma shut up with it now. :)

Lear's Fool said...

About time this guy got a feature! :)

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

@TexWisGirl: Yup!

@Crunchy: Haha! Still true, though!

@Lear's Fool: Yeah, just one of a whole bunch that probably should've been here years ago!

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