Hello, Ugly New Fish! And Goodbye

That is one ugly fishWe may not be stupid enough to have wiped ourselves out as a species (yet), but we’re certainly capable of doing it to others. Take the Louisiana pancake batfish, a species so “new” that it was only recently discovered by Louisiana State University ichthyologist Prosanta Chakrabarty, who noted the fish’s freakish behavior and appearance.

“If you make an oval between your thumb and forefinger, they’re about that big. Their mouths and bulbous eyes are right in the front of their heads. You can’t even see their faces if you look from above,” Chakrabarty said.

Not only does it look odd; it also moves in mysterious ways. The Louisiana pancake batfish uses its foot-like fins, complete with an elbow, to push off the sea floor. Flapping its tail, it swiftly hops across the sand.

“They’re not like a flounder; they are much more mobile, more like a pancake with feet. They’re bizarre for what they look like and how they behave,” Chakrabarty said.

Unfortunately for the the Louisiana pancake batfish, it lives at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, which has been a bit oily of late. Chakrabarty worries that the spill will destroy the batfish’s ecosystem and cause its extinction. But, hey, we’ll probably find something else to replace it, right? And if it’s ugly-looking underwater creatures you want, there’s still the blobfish. I mean, until we destroy it through overfishing. Oh well. [Via]