Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rosy and Red Lipped Bat Fish

The red-lipped batfish (Ogcocepphalus darwini)and the rosy-lipped batfish
(Ogcocephalus porrectus) are very similar to each other and reside near Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands.

They are found in the deep sea, in ocean depths of over 100 feet and prefer to walk with their fins on the ocean floor rather than swim. The fins look like legs and feet. Perhaps this is our great and honored ancestor - the link between fin and foot.

The bright lips may be to aid in species recognition during spawning. Same for humans - helping them to not mate with gorillas wearing lipstick.

Rosy and Red are carnivores carnivores, eating a diet mainly of small fish and crustaceans (e.g., shrimps, mollusks, and crabs)

Like the anglerfish, these fish have an illicium, which is a small extension from its head region. In the red-lipped batfish the illicium is protected by an elongated snout. Attached to the illicium is the esca that the fish uses to lure in unsuspecting prey, which you can see quite clearly in the following video - being used by a similar fish.

The nose type thing on the face is indeed a snout. "It's firm," says ichthyologist and batfish expert John McCosker, "sort of like chicken gristle," and it protects a thin, retractable appendage that the batfish deploys to lure small edible fishes.


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