Happy Halloween fish blog readers! I thought I might stay in the theme of things and introduce some of the more frightening and bizarre fish you might find in the tanks here at That Fish Place. I’ve always been drawn to fish that a lot of people find to be ugly or plain, I just don’t think they get the credit they deserve. I think that a fish or invert with bizarre characteristics is way more fascinating than the more popular pretty stuff.
One of my favorite types of fish is angler fish, or Frogfish. Though there are examples of brilliantly colored frog fish, most of the ones that we see have muted colors, brown, grey, pale yellow, nothing too exciting. Frogfish are masters of disguise, mimicking their surroundings to blend seamlessly with rocks, sponges, floating seaweed, and other articles in the reef. They can even change color over time to blend if necessary. This ability to blend is essential as they are ambush predators. They lay in wait for prey to pass close enough for them to snatch with lighting speed. Anglers have some unique anatomy that allows them to be effective predators. They have a lure on their head that can extend and jiggle, attracting smaller fish and inverts to within striking distance. Their gill openings are found behind their modified pectoral fins so the movement is hidden from the view of prey. And another amazing feature is their capability to swallow prey their size, accommodated by a huge mouth and highly expandable abdomen. They’re a ton of fun to watch, and they’re adorable in their own lumpy, grumpy way.
Sea Goblins are aptly named; these guys would fit in just right in Jim Henson’s monster shop. They and their scorpionfish and stonefish cousins are intimidating in appearance, but by nature are not aggressive with the exception of their predatory nature. They are content to blend like the anglers, waiting for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Some of these fish are brightly colored, too, but many are cloaked in colors to blend with rock and the sea floor, many even have fins, spikes, and frilly skin and appendages that help them to blend and make them even more ferocious looking. Many, with faces only a mother could love, are not respected for their unique looks, but for their needle-like venomous spines, reliable means of defense.
Trumpet fish are weird and amazing predators. They seem so docile and shy, their long, slender bodies hovering on and above the rock reef. Unassuming prey should not underestimate the stealth and speed of these hunters. With incredible speed they swoop in and suck down their prey like a vacuum with their long, specialized snout and mouth.
I really have to give some freshwater fish props too. With the exception of piranhas, I don’t think people find freshwater fish to be as intimidating and scary as many marine fish. There are, however, lots of freshwater fish that are pretty unusual and frightening to look at, even if they don’t have demeanor to back it up. Take for example, the vampire tetra. Even when they come to us at only a couple of inches in length, their fierce fangs can give you a shudder. Same goes for Goliath Tiger fish and Alligator Gar, especially if you’ve seen any articles on the adults.
In a previous article, Frank Indiviglio posted a profile of blind cavefish. Fish with no eyes? Pretty creepy!
Glass catfish and Indian Glass fish are two fish that share a unique trait. Both of these fish are crystal clear! Neither of them is remotely scary, but it’s rather a strange characteristic. You can feed them different colored flake foods, and actually see the foods in their guts. Fun.
No wonder the Sci-fi channel never runs out of ideas for Saturday premiere original movies! With crazy creatures you can find at the local pet store leering at you from the dark corners of aquariums, it doesn’t take too much imagination! Come on in and check out the selection, and have a terrific Halloween!