Monday, March 2, 2009

Psychedelic Frogfish

Psychedelic Frogfish jetting Copyright:David Hall/

When I read about this new species over the weekend, it's name caught my eye and as an old fishin' hippie I knew I had to blog on this one!

University of Washington fish biologist Ted Pietsch knew he was looking at something distinct when a photo of this pink coloured specimen showed up in his email box last year. The strange fish was first spotted by divers with Mukulu Divers in Ambon Harbor near Bali, Indonesia in January 2008. More than a dozen fish have since been spotted in 5 to 8 metres of water near a commercial jetty in the busy harbour. After a year of DNA analysis Ted's team was able to determine that they had identified a new species; Histiophryne psychedelica. Their work will be published in next month's issue of Copeia. You can find lots of information and more great photos there.
The 10 cm fish has a flat head and eyes facing forward meaning that it could have stereoscopic visionand able to see in three dimensions - something that fish with eyes on either sides of their heads are not able to attain. It uses it's fins almost like hands to grasp coral and clambers across reefs in a bumbling fashion. It can also propel itself by gulping water then spitting it out through it's gills. Check out this video link for a look at this amazing creature;

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