Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Strange Fish in New Family?

A very strange new anglerfish, about the size of a large apple, has icthyologists buzzing. Unlike any other anglerfish, and unlike almost every other fish, period, it has a flat face with the eyes set facing forward, as humans have. This gives it binocular vision and thus depth perception extremely unusual for the class Osteichthyes (bony fishes). Ted Pietsch of the University of Washington thinks the bizarre creature is not just a new species or even a new genus, but the only known representative of a new family. (That would be the 19th family of anglerfish to be classified.) Like most anglerfish, the orange-pink animal (which has a complex color pattern, very good for reef camouflage) has leglike pectoral fins which provide the ability to crawl when needed. Three divers found the fish while exploring a reef in Indonesia.

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