Red-lipped batfish is one of the strangest fish in the ocean
The red-lipped batfish is found in the Pacific ocean and in particular, around the Galapagos Islands. They are strange looking creatures with ruby red lips that are so colourful, it appears that they are wearing lipstick. They are bottom dwellers and poor swimmers but their pectoral fins have evolved to work almost like legs, so that they are able to walk across the sand on the ocean bottom. They "stand" still on their fins and wiggle their dorsal fin like a lure to attract prey.
The red-lipped batfish eats small fish, small crabs, and worms. It is an ambush predator that will try to lure food to come to it, but it will also hunt by moving over the rubble or sand to find an opportunity. The bright colouring of the lips that is unique to this species is believed to assist the fish in trying to attract a mate.
This video shows the face of the batfish and the unique appearance, as well as the fins being used like legs. Batfish are shy though, and the idea of being filmed was not especially appealing. This little fellow slowly swam away to find more privacy.
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse and most uniquely adapted animals on the planet. Charles Darwin stuudied here and wrote at length about the finches, marine iguanas, and tortoise that had adapted in amazing ways to the harsh conditions on the islands. The challenges presented here, along with the isolation from other areas of the world, created obvious physical differences through selective breeding that led him to his important conclusions regarding the theory of evolution. These theories changed the way we look at animals, our planet, and even ourselves. Charles Darwin would have been very fascinated had he been able to wear scuba gear to explore the underwater world in the Galapagos to see creatures like the red-lipped batfish.