Oh the colors of this crazy critter.
A psychedelic fish that bounces on the ocean floor like a rubber ball has been classified as a new species.
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 behavioural 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.