Bat Fish - In Belize
Ogcocephalidae is the official term for a bat fish.
Batfish can reach in size from around 15 inches, and they grow extremely fast. They have broad, flat heads; slim bodies covered with hard lumps and spines; some species have an elongated, upturned snout; about 14 in. long. They are poor swimmers and usually walk on the sea bottom on limblike pectoral and pelvic fins; most live in deep sea but some inhabit shallow water; members of a group known as anglerfish, are equipped with a “fishing pole” tipped with a fleshy “bait” to lure prey close enough to be eaten; unlike other anglers, can draw apparatus into a tube when not in use.
The species found in and around Belize, is the Short-Nosed Batfish, but there are about 60 species of fishes of the family Ogcocephalidae (order Lophiiformes), found in warm and temperate seas; of which the Short-Nosed Batfish is a member.
They are laterally compressed fishes similar in appearance to rays, with a large circular, triangular, or box-shaped head and a small tail. The largest members of the family are about 20 inches in length.
Typically, bat fish dwell on the bottom of the ocean floor. So this was a rare find indeed. They are found in deep, lightless waters of the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans. They are bottom-dwelling fishes, mostly found on the continential slope at depths between 660 feet and 3,300 feet deep. Found singly on mud, rubble and sandy bottoms resting on the sand or partially covered in sand or mud close to reef edges. They feed on algae, fish, invertebrates and worms.
These batfishes with their depressed circular/triangular bodies are poor swimmers and have adapted for a life style of crawling about on the sea floor using their pelvic fins and arm like Pectoral fins. They have a small lure on their snout to attract their prey, the lure becomes shorter with age.
Also known as Deep-sea Batfishes, Handfishes, Longnose Batfish, Red-bellied Batfish, Seabats, Short-nosed Batfish, Slantbrow Batfish, Walking Batfish and red-lipped Batfish.
Bat Fish Geographical Area
Snortnose Bat Fish
Shortnose Batfish (Ogcocephalus nasutus ) Very uncommon & rare.
The Shortnose Batfish is the species found in and around Belize. They were put on the endangered species list (red list) in 2015.
The Shortnose Batfish has a long pointed nose (but not a 'real 'nose') projecting from between his eyes. Tail has two dark and one light broad bands on its tail. Colors and mottling can vary from reds and browns to whites and creams. The older the fish, the shorted the nose seems to be. This fish could be considered a living evolutionary, transitional species. His ventral fins have evolved to be used almost like front legs, and its pectoral fins have receded to the rear of his body and are used much like hind legs. Thanks to Alex Herman for these photos taken at Caye Caulker, offshore Belize, which he sent me to identify. They are also known as the Longnose Batfish. There are four Atlantic batfish species. Only two are even rarely found in the Caribbean. On 06-22-17 Tom Krall saw one at Waterlemon in about 25 feet of water, so I'm adding this species to the gallery.
Longnose Bat Fish
Longnose Batfish (Ogcocephalus corniger) Very uncommon & rare.
The longnose batfish (Ogcocephalus corniger) is a species of batfish found at depths between 95 & 755 feet in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from North Carrolina to the Gulf of Mexico. Like other members of the family Ogcocephalidae, it has a flat triangular body with coloring varying from yellowish to purple with pale, round spots. The lips are orange-red. Projecting from its head is a characteristic structure that is shared by other anglerfish.
They were placed on the endangered species list (red list), in 2015.
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