Flat-Faced Crawling Fish Discovered

April 3, 2008—After countless centuries, this odd anglerfish (right) may finally be ready for its close-up.

Discovered in Indonesia in January, the species has forward-looking eyes like a human and crawls rather than swims.

These and other traits suggest the fist-size animal may represent a new family of fishes, University of Washington fish expert Ted Pietsch announced on April 2, when this photo was released. DNA tests are needed for confirmation.

Pietsch first learned of the unnamed species from dive-facility operators on Ambon island, Indonesia. “I knew it had to be an anglerfish because of the leglike pectoral fins on its sides,” he said in a statement.

But the new species lacks the trademark forehead “lure” that other anglerfish use to attract prey.

The fish’s forward-facing eyes seem to be a first, even to Pietsch, a 40-year veteran of fish research.

The fish’s knack for squeezing into coral crevices may explain why it’s escaped notice until now—a low profile that isn’t likely to last.

“Seeking out these fish is probably going to be like the holy grail of divers for a while,” Ambon Island-based dive operator Randolph Shorten said in a statement.

(Related photos: “Giant, Unknown Animals Found off Antarctica” [March 28, 2008].)

—Ted Chamberlain

source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080403-fish-photo.html

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