Batfish Crazy

It’s mean, it’s ugly, and it wants you OUT of its territory! No, not talking about Bigfoot this time. It’s a bizarre species of fish, or ah, bat. If anything deserves the title cryptid, this is it! Take a look …

I saw this video the other day and thought surely it must be a hoax. One of CryptoVille’s Facebook fans mentioned it may be something called a batfish. So I looked into it.

Can you believe it’s real? And it’s called a batfish! The scientific name is Ogcocephalus vespertilio.  While they don’t actually fly, they also don’t swim very well. Science tells us that their preferred method of transportation is walking on their pectoral fins! (Photo below right by unknown.)

Batfish01These beasties hide during the day, burrowing down into the sand. When nighttime comes, they rise up and walk around in search of a tasty meal.

Batfish like to eat small crustaceans, segmented marine worms, and small fish. Depending on the species, because there is a whole family of them around the world, they can measure between 2 to 20 inches long, but average around seven inches.

O.vespertilio measures about 12 inches long (30.5 cm).

In general, these shy batfish live in sandy environments on the ocean floor and can be found throughout the western Atlantic ocean from the Antilles down to Brazil.  O. vespertilio is the Brazilian variety.

Batfish02Aquarium Trade

These batfish are popular in the aquarium trade, but it’s a sad life for them. The article for Aquarium Talk reported that if you’re lucky, they live 3 years in captivity, versus the 16 years they’d normally live in the wild. (Artwork right by unidentified – I can’t read the print.)

They are very shy and skittish; often they just won’t accept food. Unfortunately they carry a lot of disease and parasites too, which means it can wreck the rest of one’s aquarium set-up.

If you ask me, they’re such a lot of trouble, it would be easier and kinder to let them be in their natural habitat.

Batfish06DrewcareyusMimiusGlamour Girl Variety

You may think these fish are kind of ugly, not to mention bizarre looking. But they also know how to be stylin’ their appearance! Let me introduce you to the Glamour Girl variety of batfish called Ogcocephalus darwini – look at those red lips!! This species lives around the Galapagos island, hence the name. (Photo right by Drewcareyus Mimius.)

Now who dares to say O. darwini isn’t beautiful? 😀

Batfish05Here’s a Thought

Batfish are part of the larger lantern fish order – the ones that dangle what looks like little lanterns over their heads to attract smaller fish into their mouths in the pitch dark of the ocean depths. (Image right by unknown.) I have to wonder if those red lips are also used to lure prey into the mouth of the batfish.

I bet you’ll never look at your wife or girlfriend the same way again, right? 😉


Batfish04Happy Valentine’s Day!!





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