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Gulf Oil Spill Uncovers Two New Species of Walking Fish

Pancake batfishes can walk using it's arm-like fins

Pancake batfishes can walk using it's arm-like fins (Image via: Discovery)

A lot has been said of the Gulf oil spill. The unprecedented environmental disaster that it heralds is unquestionable. In the midst of all this doom and gloom here’s a different story to come out of the Deepwater Horizon…

A new discovery?

Pancake batfishes are unusual to say the least. The creature you see in the image is a bottom-dweller that often exists in deep, eternally dark waters. What’s most unusual about them is that they walk along the flat bottom they inhabit using their arm-like fins. It is an awkward way of locomoting and they are said to resemble walking bats when doing this.

Two new species of them have recently been discovered in an area affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. One of the species is apparently completely restricted to the oil spill area (although it is a little unclear how this can be indisputably claimed considering the species was only recently documented and their distribution might yet be undiscovered).

More about the batfishes…

They belong to the same family as anglerfish; Ogcocephalidae. About 70 species of this family are known to science and they inhabit the deep and dark layers of the ocean. Like anglerfish, the pancake batfishes too have a dorsal fin that has transformed into a lure in order to attract prey. Unlike anglerfish though their lures do not bio-illuminate. Instead they excrete a fluid.

They also have extremely large heads and mouths that can be projected forward and this in combination with their cryptic abilities make them skilled predators in the rather desolate habitat that they inhabit.

Via:  Discovery


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