Sunday March 1st, 2009
ImageA previously unidentified species of fish has been discovered by scuba divers off the Island of Ambon, off Jakarta. A member of the frogfish family it was initially spotted by divers in waters off the Indonesian Island last year who photographed it and circulated the pictures on the internet in an attempt to identify it. The pictures were eventually sent to a frogfish expert at the University of Washington.
Dubbed ‘psychedelica’ due to its bright colours and unusual method of propulsion by apparently bouncing along the seabed, it would appear that the species was actually discovered nearly 20 years ago. Unfortunately the specimen was wrongly labelled and left unnoticed on the shelf until now.
It seems almost unbelievable that such a distinctive looking creature should have remained unnoticed for so long. The ‘psychedelica’ is totally unique in appearance, with flat, peach coloured, humanlike face sporting fleshy cheeks, a chin and eyes from which swirling blue and white concentric stripes radiate. It propels itself along using its pelvic fins to lift it off the seabed. As the Copeia research paper said 'The overall impression was of an inflated rubber ball bouncing along the bottom'.
Senior adviser to the Conservation International’s marine programme said of the discovery 'I think people thought frogfishes were relatively well known and to get a new one like this is really quiet spectacular. ... It's a stunning animal… It also speaks to the tremendous diversity in this region and to fact that there are still a lot of unknowns here in Indonesia and in the Coral Triangle in general.'
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