Red Lipped Batfish: an Unusual Looking Fish

Red Lipped Batfish: an Unusual Looking Fish

Some people consider red lipped batfish an ugly creature others believe it is actually quite funny. A thing is certain. This fish species is very special.

red lipped batfish

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The red lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini) can be found in the Galapagos Islands, but it is very similar with the rosy lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus porrectus), which lives near Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica.

Members of the family Ogcocephalidae are commonly referred to as batfish because their compressed bodies and broad, flat heads make them resemble bats.

There is not much information about this unusual, but harmless sea creature. As its name suggests, the fish is endowed with a pair of strange lips that look like were embellished with a bright red lipstick.  The role of the lips is not very clear, but some scientists believe they help the males to attract the females.

Besides its unique lips, the marine animal amazes through its capacity to “walk” on the ocean floor. Unlike any other fishes, the red lipped batfish is not a good swimmer. He lives on the depth range of 3 to 76 meters and for the locomotion he uses his pectoral fins similar to legs.

The red lipped batfish is a carnivore species. To catch his prey the fish uses the small extension from its head region known as illicium. This extension is used like a fishing pole to attract and catch the unsuspecting prey.

Although he have a unique appearance, red lipped batfish is not very suitable for the life in an aquarium. Since its natural habit is the ocean floor, the lighting in its aquarium would need to be kept much darker than most aquarists are used to. Also, because of its predatory nature he can eat the other fish.

If you ever plan to visit the amazing Galapagos Islands, don’t forget to look after the red lipped batfish while you do scuba diving.


Remi Koene
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