Bizarre Facts: A Mysteriously Groovy Fish
There is a groovy little creature that roams the ocean. The psychedelic frogfish stands out from other fish in its unique coloring and because it does not swim. Instead, it uses its pectoral fins to walk along the sea floor and sometimes uses its fins to push off the bottom of the seafloor, “hopping” around.
The psychedelic frogfish skin is embellished with groovy swirls of orange and white. These distinctive stripes make a fingerprint pattern that is unique to each fish and acts as camouflage, helping it hide from predators. Its tiny aquamarine eyes light up brightly from the center of its flattened head, belying the perpetual frown of its mouth.
Many frogfish, otherwise known as anglerfish, are known for destructively devouring their prey, and this far-out species is no different. The frogfish hides in tiny crevices in coral, blocking off passages that shrimp and little fish use to get to inner chambers. Additionally, the frogfish’s thick skin protects him from scratches as he squirms his way into tight spaces and waits for unsuspecting prey to float by, when, in a flash, he swallows them whole.
Psychedelic frogfish are “egg-brooders,” meaning they keep their eggs attached to their body to protect them from predators. Female psychedelic frogfish lay large clusters of eggs. One was documented to have laid about 220 eggs. The female wraps her caudal, dorsal, and anal fins around the cluster of eggs and carries them until they hatch, using a unique method of aerating the eggs by creating a pouch with its fins and fanning them. It is unknown how long it takes for the eggs to hatch, as is little else about these groovy fish, as they were only first discovered as recently as 1992. However, only a little came of that first observation, and another sighting was made in 2008.
Psychedelic frogfish is one of the rarest and hardest-to-find fishes in the world. It can only be found in one particular location, in the restricted areas of the Ambon and the Molucca islands in Indonesia. As researchers strive to know more about these unique angler fish, protecting the ocean’s coral reefs from climate change and human activity is crucial.