The Red-lipped batfish is an odd looking species of fish in the anglerfish family which gets its name from the pronounced red colouring around its mouth and its flat, bat like body. Also called the Galapagos batfish, it makes its home primarily in the ocean surrounding the Galapagos Islands as well as near Peru, but it has been known to wash up elsewhere in the pacific. The Red-lipped batfish is a mottled greyish brown on its back with a lighter-coloured underside and often a dark stripe down its spine. The distinctive red lips are thought to be a way for Red-lipped batfish to identify each other for spawning, but biologists have also speculated that their lips act as a lure to attract prey toward their mouth. Although it is a fish, it is not a particularly good swimmer. Instead of swimming, the Red-lipped batfish moves by walking on the ocean floor using its specially adapted lower fins. It often uses its two front fins to prop itself up like a tripod and survey its surroundings. It has been found living in depths of anywhere from three to 76 meters below the surface of the ocean. The red-lipped batfish is primarily a piscivore, which means its diet consists mainly of smaller fish, but it also feeds on the occasional insect and other small sea-dwelling creatures. The Red-lipped batfish’s forehead has a protruding knob called an illicium, and when the dorsal fin matures it extends even farther—a spine-like growth on the top of the head. This illicium is thought to also act as a lure for small prey. In addition, the Red-lipped batfish possesses a glowing lure at the top of the illicium which helps to reveal its lure to other fish in the dark depths of the ocean floor. This glowing lure is called an esca. This unique hunting tactic is just one of the many interesting things about the Red-lipped batfish that allow it to survive in its strange environment. While the Red-lipped batfish faces no specific threats, warming oceans and loss of habitat could negatively impact the batfish population in the Galapagos. For now, the Red-lipped batfish is safe.
Keywords to learn
Piscivore: a type of carnivore that eats primarily fish
Esca: a fleshy glowing lure on the end of a modified dorsal fin found in multiple species of anglerfish
Hey Kids, my name is Rey the Red-lipped batfish and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
- Lifespan:10-12 years.
- Scientific Name:Ogcocephalus darwini.
- Mass:0.5kg – 1kg (1.1lbs – 2.2lbs).
- Length:25cm – 40cm (9.8in – 15.7in).
- Region found:Galapagos Islands, near Peru.
- Population Status:Least Concern.
- Current population trend:Least Concern.
- Sexual maturity:1-2 years.
Red-lipped batfish are fascinating animals with many strange and unique characteristics. While they might look ugly, they are perfectly adapted to live on the ocean floor, and their oddities make them interesting to study.
Now that you know more about the Red-lipped batfish by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the Echidna here: Red-lipped batfish (answers are on this page)
Red-lipped batfish Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. The Red-lipped batfish gets its scientific name from Charles Darwin, who visited the Galapagos islands to study animal life.
- # 2. The Red-lipped batfish have occasionally been found in nets as far north as California, but this is unusual.
- # 3. The fact that the Red-lipped batfish uses modified fins to walk hints at how land animals evolved from ocean-dwellers.
- # 4. The Red-lipped batfish is one of a few species of fish that are wider than they are long.
- # 5. The Red-lipped batfish cannot be kept in aquariums, because they require a very dark environment in order to feed.
# 1. How deep does the Red-lipped batfish live?
# 2. Are Red-lipped batfish endangered?
# 3. What is another name for the Red-lipped batfish?
# 4. What does the diet of a Red-lipped batfish consist of?
# 5. Name one of the possible reasons for the fish’s bright red lips?