New anglerfish species discovered in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

Giant Anglerfish (Antennarius commersoni), sometimes known as a frogfish, from Thailand’s Richelieu Rock and Burma’s Western Rocky Island.

After earlier new fish species today, one more new fish species.

From the University of Washington in the USA:

New fish has a face even Dale Chihuly could love

A fish that would rather crawl into crevices than swim, and that may be able to see in the same way that humans do, could represent an entirely unknown family of fishes, says a University of Washington fish expert.

The fish, sighted in Indonesian waters off Ambon Island, has tan- and peach-colored zebra-striping, and rippling folds of skin that obscure its fins, making it look like a glass sculpture that Dale Chihuly might have dreamed up. But far from being hard and brittle like glass, the bodies of these fist-sized fish are soft and pliable enough to slip and slide into narrow crevices of coral reefs. It’s probably part of the reason that they’ve typically gone unnoticed – until now.

The individuals are undoubtedly anglerfishes, says Ted Pietsch, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences who has published 150 scholarly articles and several books on anglerfishes and is the world’s leading authority on them. In the last 50 years scientists have described only five new families of fishes and none of them were even remotely related to anglerfishes, Pietsch says.

Husband and wife Buck and Fitrie Randolph, with dive guide Toby Fadirsyair, found and photographed an individual Jan. 28 in Ambon harbor. A second adult has since been seen and two more – small, and obviously juveniles – were spotted March 26, off Ambon. One of the adults laid a mass of eggs, just spotted Tuesday.

The Randolphs are part-owners of Maluku Divers, a land-based dive facility in Ambon City. Toby Fadirsyair, who works for Maluku Divers, said he may have seen something similar 10 or 15 years ago but the coloring was different.

Reference books were consulted but nothing similar to the fish photographed in January was found. Seeking international fish experts eventually led them to Pietsch.

“As soon as I saw the photo I knew it had to be an anglerfish because of the leglike pectoral fins on its sides,” Pietsch says. “Only anglerfishes have crooked, leglike structures that they use to walk or crawl along the seafloor or other surfaces.”

Anglerfishes – also called by names like frogfishes and toadfishes – are found the world over and typically have lures growing from their foreheads that they wave or cause to wiggle in order to attract prey. Get too close to the lure and you’re lunch.

The newly found individuals have no lures so they seek their prey differently, burrowing themselves into crevices and cracks of coral reefs in search of food. …

When only a single fish had been sighted, Randolph and Andy Shorten, co-owner of Maluku Divers, kept the find quiet to protect the animal.

See also here. And here.

It was during the filming of the documentary series Blue Planet that the hairy angler was first discovered. Like many deep-sea fish, these creatures were new to science because of the great depths at which they live: here.

8 thoughts on “New anglerfish species discovered in Indonesia

  1. Feb 28, 10:10 AM EST

    Indonesia’s psychedelic fish named a new species

    By ROBIN McDOWELL
    Associated Press Writer

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A funky, psychedelic fish that bounces on the ocean floor like a rubber ball has been classified as a new species, a scientific journal reported. The frogfish – which has a swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes that extend from its aqua eyes to its tail – was initially discovered by scuba diving instructors working for a tour operator a year ago in shallow waters off Ambon island in eastern Indonesia.

    The operator contacted Ted Pietsch, lead author of a paper published in this month’s edition of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, who submitted DNA work identifying it as a new species.

    The fish – which the University of Washington professor has named “psychedelica” – is a member of the antennariid genus, Histiophryne, and like other frogfish, has fins on both sides of its body that have evolved to be leg-like.

    But it has several behavioral traits not previously known to the others, Pietsch wrote.

    Each time the fish strike the seabed, for instance, they push off with their fins and expel water from tiny gill openings to jet themselves forward. That, and an off-centered tail, causes them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic manner.

    Mark Erdman, a senior adviser to the Conservation International’s marine program, said Thursday it was an exciting discovery.

    “I think people thought frogfishes were relatively well known and to get a new one like this is really quiet spectacular. … It’s a stunning animal,” he said, adding that the fish’s stripes were probably intended to mimic coral.

    “It also speaks to the tremendous diversity in this region and to fact that there are still a lot of unknowns here – in Indonesia and in the Coral Triangle in general.”

    The fish, which has a gelatinous fist-sized body covered with thick folds of skin that protect it from sharp-edged corals, also has a flat face with eyes directed forward, like humans, and a huge, yawning mouth.

    On the Net:

    University of Washington: http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID47496

    © 2009 The Associated Press.

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