Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week of the Abyss Cont'd.: Walking batfish.

Yes, that is a fish...and it's walking.  Creationists beware: You have found your proof that Darwin was right.

Just when you thought anglerfish could get no weirder, the walking batfish crawls up and says "hello." They are native to nearly all oceans, and can also be found in shallower waters. More on those varieties later.

Fish-people are inevitable.

The walking batfish (Family Ogcocephalidae) barely looks like a fish at first glance. Its pectoral fins have been modified to walk on the ocean floor. With limbs so adapted for walking, batfish are poor swimmers. They are also proof that Dagon is, in fact, raising an army in the depths. Shh, keep that one a secret between us.

All species of batfish are predatory. Like other anglerfish, they have a lure (properly called an "esca") at the end of their long noses. Instead of using light like most other species, however, this lure emits a chemical bait. Abyssal hunters tend to be very lazy; all the fish has to do is snap prey up. They usually eat worms, fish, and small crustaceans.

I'm Batfish. And

Several species of New World batfish live in shallower waters. These species are...colorful, to say the least. One could honestly wonder whether the fish above was a poor PhotoShop job. One species, the Louisiana Pancake Batfish, was damaged by the Gulf spill early last year, so please pay it a visit while you still can. People who know about this weird fish have been bemoaning its decline thanks to the spill.

Oh, and by the way: This is one of the few abyssal creatures that one can actually keep as a pet. There are several videos of these fish walking in aquaria and a few care sheets floating around. The requirements for batfish are kind of specific, but we almost guarantee that nobody else on the block will have one.

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