Weirdest fish in the world

Posted on Apr 20, 2013 in Looks

Deep beneath the immense oceans lie some of the Earth’s greatest mysteries. The truth that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the depths of the sea bed is alone a mind-boggling reality. Exploring the underwater world, we can only scratch the surface in discovering surreal species of fish from tropical delights to untold terrors.














High-flyer – Bat ray

The superhero of the underwater world, the bat ray is so-called due to its long pectoral fins that resemble the flapping wings of a bat. Whilst other rays have separate arm-like fins to reel in their meal, the bat ray takes full advantage of its ‘wings’ in the pursuit of food. At the sandy sea bed, this vigilant hunter waves its pectoral fins in the graceful style of a soaring bird to create a hollow crater and unmask buried prey.

Lives: Pacific Ocean

Status: Least Concern















Menacing Mimic – Hairy frogfish

The hairy frogfish might sound like a cuddly creature but its nature appears far from its name. Covered in an abundance of fleshy, hair-like extensions, it masquerades in a costume of its environment. Its strange colour-changing tresses help this ruthless predator to blend in amongst the more pleasant surroundings of soft corals and seaweed, tricking its victims into a false sense of security. When in range, the naïve target is engulfed with lightning speed into the hairy frogfish’s spacious mouth. Aside from its crafty camouflage, the frogfish also uses its unique fins to slowly ‘walk’ across the seabed and stalk potential prey with the movement of a frog.

 Lives: Everywhere

Status: Not Evaluated



photo: Claf


















Dentist’s Delight – Fangtooth

In the pitch black depths of the ocean, a sharp-toothed monster lurks in search of a bite. This terrifying sea beast has an equally scary title as the fish with the largest known teeth proportionate to its size. The incisors of Dracula are nothing compared to the fangtooth’s immensely sharp fangs and any unlucky creature captured in its trap has no chance of wriggling free. With such large, pointed teeth, special pockets inside the roof of the mouth must exist to keep them locked safely away.

Lives: Deep Sea

Status: Not Evaluated


Blob fish

photo: s i b e r










Misery Guts – Blobfish

The blobfish inhabits waters as deep as 1,200m (3,900ft) where the pressure is 80 times greater than at sea level. For regular fish that have gas bladders, these depths make maintaining buoyance extremely troublesome. To this effect evolution has blessed the blobfish with a body that is, for all intents and purposes, goo. This ‘goo’ is slightly less dense than water allowing it float along without wasting energy on swimming, reason enough to turn that frown upside down.

Lives: Australia, Tasmania

Status: Endangered


Big-Headed Bruiser – Asian sheepshead wrasse (Bulgyhead)

Resembling an old man who forgot his dentures, this unfortunate fish won’t be winning modelling contracts with its bulbous features. Growing up to a metre long it is one of the largest wrasse and when this is combined with its bulging protrusions it gives the impression of being a punch drunk opponent of Rocky Balboa.

Lives: South-East Asia

Status: Least Concern


Tubby Terror – Obese dragon fish

These deep water denizens live up to 5000m below sea level. At such depths there is no natural light so these fish have evolved ‘photophores’, or light producing organs which cover its body in rows and below both eyes. The light it produces is almost infrared, which its prey cannot detect, but illuminates them to the obese dragon fish like neon takeaway signs ready to be snapped up by its greedy jaws.

Lives: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans

Status: Least Concern  



photo: suneko












Gift-Wrapped – Boxfish

Perfectly wrapped and brightly coloured, the boxfish is not easily mistaken with its polka-dot markings and box shaped body. This pretty parcel of a fish has a cubical boxy shape formed by the hard shell of bony plates which makes up its uniquely geometrical body. Its tiny form at only 1-1½ inches in length is certainly unmissable with its vibrant canary yellow hue and brown spots. However, as with us all age takes its toll causing its cheery colours to fade to grey.

Lives: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean

Status: Not Evaluated












Show Stopper – Stoplight parrotfish

This sex-changing fish is the drag queen of the underwater realm, with a wardrobe that could challenge the very best carnival goers. During the initial phase, when it could be male or female, its body is white or dark grey with a ruddy head and underbelly and in the terminal phase, when it’s male, it sports vibrant green hues with pink trims. This dramatic transformation from red to green makes this fish one of the most accurately named around.

Lives: Bermuda, Brazil and Caribbean reefs

Status: Least Concern





Rock Solid – Stonefish

Touted as the world’s most venomous fish; the stonefish is one stone you want to leave unturned. Along its back are thirteen razor sharp spines and attached to each one are two sacs containing neurotoxic venom that it will eject at the lightest touch. Couple this with the fact the stonefish is a master of camouflage with its mottled skin and you have the recipe for a truly fearsome fish.

Lives: Indo-Pacific, Florida, Caribbean

Status: Least Concern


Special Tackle – Humpback angler fish

With a face that not even a mother could love, the humpback angler fish resembles a monster from a sci-fi flick. These fish live in deep, dark waters where they employ their special hunting technique to deadly effect. Protruding from its forehead like a nightmarish unicorn is a ‘fishing pole’ at the end of which dangles a luminous, wriggling lure. The unsuspecting prey, thinking they have spotted a tasty morsel, swim up to the bait only to be snapped up by rows of long, razor sharp pointed teeth.

Lives: Deep Sea

Status: Not Evaluated


Greatest Party Trick – Guinea Fowl Puffer Fish

In the face of conflict, this big balloon fish has the ability to inflate itself by inhaling air or water as a protective defence against being eaten by other fish. Unless it fancies a hearty meal, a predator will leave the prickly guinea fowl puffer fish undisturbed when inflated as it becomes too much to swallow at a sizeable 20 inches. As if its ballooning body wasn’t enough, this puffer fish has an extra party piece up its sleeve, miraculously changing colour between black with white spots to an all-over bright yellow over time.

Lives: Indo-Pacific

Status: Least Concern


The Vampire – Candiru

Blood sucking, almost invisible and armed with piercing spines, the Candiru is the fish of nightmares. Parasitic in nature, it senses the urea expelled from the gills of larger fish, sneaks up and swims inside them. Its backward pointing spines embed themselves in the host making them impossible to dislodge allowing them to feed on the blood of its victim. Rumours even tell of it mistaking human private parts for fish gills with excruciating consequences for the victims!

Lives: Amazon River

Status: Not Evaluated


Fish Out of Water – Barred mudskipper

In the tidal habitats that the barred mudskipper resides, most fish are dictated by the ebb and flow of water level, retreating to wet seaweed or tidal pools as the tide goes out. This is not so for the barred mudskipper who has adapted to life on land by breathing air, similar to amphibians. Using their fins to ‘skip’ across the ground these fish are able to freely roam whatever the weather.

Lives: East Africa, Southeast Asia

Status: Least Concern




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