Featured Image Credit: YouTube/National Geographic
When a diver decided to plunge into the waters of Bali, Indonesia, the last thing he expected to find under the sea with him that night was a WALKING fish. Yup, you heard us right!
Luckily, the diver was able to capture the fish on video pacing across the seafloor on what appears to be its legs. According to National Geographic, Benhalassa, a French cook who dives in his spare time, thought it was a type of stingfish at first.
“The sting fish came to meet me probably thanks to the light,” he told National Geographic by email. “It was bizarre and pretty… I thought that this could please the internet,” said Benhalassa.
When scientists were contacted about this strange footage, they suspected the odd creature is likely a member of the Minous genus of stonefishes, more commonly known as sting fish, one of the most venomous fish on the planet.
“They have venom glands at the base of the dorsal spines and when the spine is pushed into a person’s skin, the venom is essentially injected into the wound,” says Jeff Williams, collections manager and ichthyologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
However, sting fish don’t actually have legs. Instead, parts of the fish’s pectoral fins have separated through evolution.
According to Hiroyuki Motomura, a marine biologist at the Kagoshima University Museum in Japan, stingfish and their relatives use these “pectoral filaments” to dig and poke through the mud for worms and crustaceans.
While the video provides valuable information for scientists due to its rarity, little is known about stingfish behavior or its biology. Really, the only time they are ever seen is when they are hauled out of the deep by fishermen looking for shrimp. Most of the time they get thrown back into the ocean because they are believed to be Devils, according to Motomura. Some even end up on the dinner table in certain places in Asia. It’s actually a very pricey fish in Japan!
One thing is for certain – the ocean is crawling (literally) with interesting species we know nothing about!