The Handfish

Handfish is any anglerfish within the family Brachionichthyidae, a group which comprises five genera and 14 extant species. These benthic marine fish are unusual in the way they propel themselves by walking on the sea floor rather than swimming. Handfish is found today in the coastal waters of southern Australia and Tasmania. This is the most species-rich of the few marine fish families endemic to the Australian region. They grow up to 15 cm (5.9 in) long and have skin covered with denticles (tooth-like scales), giving them the alternate name warty anglers. They are slow-moving fish that prefer to ‘walk’ rather than swim, using their modified pectoral fins to move about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands, hence their scientific name, from Latin bracchium meaning “arm” and Greek ichthys meaning “fish.” Like other anglerfish, they possess an illicium, a modified dorsal fin ray above the mouth, but it is short and does not appear to be used as a fishing lure The second dorsal spine is joined to the third by a flap of skin, making a crest. Credit: Wikipedia.