Psychedelica fish has a wild swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes

February 25th, 2009 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 25 (ANI): Scientists have dubbed a newly discovered fish as Psychedelica, as it has a wild swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes and behaves in ways contrary to its brethren.

The odd looking fish, which has rare, forward-facing eyes like humans and a secretive nature, was first spotted a little more than a year ago in the busy harbor of Ambon Island, Indonesia.

According to University of Washingtons (UW) Ted Pietsch, Psychedelica is an apt name, given the absurd way the fish swim, some with so little control that they look intoxicated.

Members of Histiophryne psychedelica, or H. psychedelica, dont so much swim as hop.

Each time they strike the seafloor, they use their fins to push off and they expel water from tiny gill openings on their sides to jettison themselves forward.

With tails curled tightly to one side, which surely limits their ability to steer, they look like inflated rubber balls bouncing hither and thither.

While other frogfish and similar species are known to jettison themselves up off the bottom before they begin swimming, none have been observed hopping.

Its just one of the behaviors of H. psychedelica never observed in any other fish, according to Pietsch, UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences and curator of fishes at the UW Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Adults of H. psychedelica are fist-sized with gelatinous bodies covered with thick folds of skin that protect them from sharp-edged corals as they haunt tiny nooks and crannies of the harbor reef.

Fins on either side of their bodies have, as with other frogfish, evolved to be leg-like, and members of H. psychedelica actually prefer crawling to swimming.

The species has a flattened face with eyes directed forward.

While other anglerfish change their coloring depending on the environment, the new species appears to maintain its wild striping no matter the surroundings.

The coloring led co-author David Hall, a wildlife photographer, to speculate that the fish is mimicking corals.

DNA work has revealed that H. psychedelica joins two other species in the genus Histiophryne, though the other two are very drably colored in comparison. (ANI)

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