Wednesday 22 July 2015

Ambon Scorpionfish

Image: Steve Childs
Pteroidichthys amboinensis
I think the word we're looking for is "eyebrows"...

Image: Steve Childs
Huge, fulsome eyebrows swaying to and fro in the current.

We've seen some pretty good eyebrows before in the related Scorpionfish of the genus Rhinopias but man, this Ambon lot just take the biscuit!

Image: Steve Childs
They can reach up to 12 cm (5 in) long, with eyebrows not much shorter and a moustache somewhat shorter still.

They live in various parts of the Indo-Pacific, where they like to sit around on soft mud or among algae. That's when the eyebrows, the moustache and the incredible array of tendrils and doodads that cover their body come in. It's great camouflage!

Video: Bibian Wong

Now they can pounce on any tasty fish unfortunate enough to get too close.

They only use their mouth to do that, even though it seriously looks like they could catch stuff with their eyebrows. Or climb with them, or wave at each other, or give each other hugs. Apparently their eyebrows do absolutely nothing but look like seaweed.

Video: liquidguru
As is so often the case with Scorpionfish, Ambons don't like to swim too much. They focus on creeping around using some of the longer spines of their huge pectoral fins.

Speaking of spines... they have venomous spines! They're in the dorsal fin running along their back. Ambon Scorpionfish don't have venomous, whip-eyebrows, either. Seriously, these guys need to make better use of their eyebrows! They needn't be mere ornaments.


Lear's Fool said...

I actually rewatched the video hoping that maybe...just maybe... this time he'd use those wonderful eyebrows.

Perhaps that's evolving later?

elfinelvin said...

If Dr. Seuss had written under sea adventures, he MIGHT have come up with this.

Porakiya said...

I think I'll coin the term "eye-stache" just for these guys. now all they need is a goatee or beard.

Joseph JG said...

@Lear's Fool: It's such a missed opportunity! You're right, maybe some day they'll become real limbs and they'll use them walk around. Can't wait!

@TexWisGirl: No doubt!

@elfinelvin: Ha! And he'd be rightly proud of his imagination, too!

@Porakiya Draekojin: Eye-stache! Works for me!