Fish Found Walking in Gulf Spill
Both fish live in waters either partially or fully encompassed by the Deepwater Horizon spill.
of the fishes that we describe is completely restricted to the oil spill area,”
says John Sparks, curator of Ichthyology at the AMNH. “If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine
how much diversity — especially microdiversity — is out there that we do not know
WATCH VIDEO: A huge oarfish was caught on camera in the Gulf of Mexico recently, giving scientists a rare glimpse of the bizarre fish in its native deep sea habitat.
According to a press release issued by the museum, pancake
batfishes are members of the anglerfish family Ogcocephalidae, a group of about
70 species of flat bottom-dwellers that often live in deep, perpetually dark
waters. Pancake batfishes have enormous heads and mouths that can thrust
forward. This, combined with their ability to cryptically blend in with their
surroundings, gives them an advantage for capturing prey.
They use their stout,
arm-like fins to walk awkwardly along the substrate; their movements have
been described as “grotesque,” resembling a walking bat. As most
anglerfishes, batfishes have a dorsal fin that is modified into a spine or
lure, although their lure excretes a fluid to reel in prey instead of
Sparks says the new “discoveries underscore the potential loss of undocumented biodiversity that a
disaster of this scale may portend.”
(Other species of fish walk too. The below video, for example, shows Australia’s spotted handfish.)