Despite all the scientific advances made in the last century, there’s still so much we don’t know about marine life. Every day, whether in Antarctica or deep in the Mid-Atlantic the ocean has a way of constantly surprising us with new species of fish and other aquatic species. In a year full of exciting discoveries, here are three of the most quirkiest, most bizarre fish finds of the last year.
Walking Bamboo Shark
Earlier this year, scientists with the group Conservation International discovered Hemiscyllium halmahera, a new species of shark that uses its fins to walk on the seafloor. This bizarre fish, which is poses no harm to humans, inhabits the tropical waters of Oceania, including Australia and Indonesia. While reaching less than 4 feet in length, these fish have unusually long tails, perhaps used to help steer as it crawls along the ground. This nocturnal forager uses its ability to scour the seabed for crustaceans and other fish.
Researchers came a new species of dwarf goby, dubbed Eviota santanai, in the waters of Timor’s first national park that sounds like a miniature monster. This bizarre fish stands out with a innocent pink appearance that belies multiple rows of teeth and up to three curved canines in the back row of teeth. Found in one of the most diverse aquatic ecosystems in the world, the fish stands out from its cousins with a different sensory system, lacking the pores many of its cousins have.
Amazon Air Breathing Fish
Perhaps the most bizarre fish discovery of 2013, Arapaima leptosoma is the first member of the group Arapaima to be discovered since 1847. The group survives in oxygen-poor swampy waters of the Amazon River by taking advantage of the labyrinth organ, a group of blood vessels opening into the mouth that allows it to “breathe” air. The fish is absolutely massive, at over six feet in length, and this particular subspecies distinguishes itself with a nearly flat forehead with a slender body. It’s amazing that a fish this big could evade discovery until 2013, especially given its ability to breathe outside the confines of water!