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Freaky Frogfish is a Fabulous Find

2nd March 2009

Just as we think we know the oceans, something new crops up.

A recently discovered frogfish that bounces up and down on the ocean bed, it turns out, is in fact a new species.

Not unlike a funky rubber ball, the bouncing frogfish is covered in splattering of trippy patterns. Peach psychedelic stripes melts into a molten toffee coloured background and apparently aides the frogfish to blend in with the coral landscape.

Psychedelica - AP Photo/seaphotos.com, David Hall, HO

The fish has been named psychedelica and is a member of the antennariid genus. It’s similar to other frogfish in that it has leg-like fins on both sides of its body. Unlike other frogfish though, it ‘bounces’ on the seabed by pushing off with these fins and propelling itself with water expelled by tiny gill openings.

The erratic movements, aided by an off-centre tail, serves to camouflage it against predators, but aids in its own predation of unsuspecting soon-to-be-meals swimming by.

Initially discovered by dive instructors working for a tour operator off Ambon island in eastern Indonesia, the unusual fish was classified as a new species by Ted Pietsch, a professor at the University of Washington.

Said Pietsch of his unusual find, “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.”

Email Dive The World to find out more about how a liveaboard diving safari is the perfect way to discover your own unknowns in Indonesia and the Coral Triangle.

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