Habitat: from the waters near Ambon Island and Bali, Indonesia
Status: Not Evaluated
This totally radical *said in surfer dude voice* creature is the Psychedelic Frogfish (Histiophryne psychedelica). It was first described in 2009 by Ted Pietsch, Rachel Arnold, and David J. Hall in the scientific journal Copeia, where they described it as having “a remarkable pigment pattern of white swirling stripes”, hence their use of the term psychedelic. One of the strange features of the Psychedelic Frogfish is that it doesn’t have scales. In fact, all members of the order Lophiiformes have flabby, fleshy skin which is sometimes covered in a protective mucous. Ew.
The pattern of stripes on the Psychedelic Frogfish acts much like zebra stripes or the spots on humpback whale tails in that it is unique to that particular frogfish. Scientists can identify the frogfish, therefore, by its unique fingerprint-like pattern.
One of my favorite things about this fish is its form of locomotion. Normally the frogfish uses its hand-like fins to walk along the bottom of the ocean. However, in some cases it will use its fins to push off from the ocean floor while at the same time shooting water through its gills to propel itself forward via jet propulsion. The reason why this is so cool is that when doing so, the fish takes on a ball shape, making it look like a trippy beach ball floating through the water. Gnarly!