Manon's Find of the Week

Recently, a few days ago, I decided to join the guests and staff on one of our regular dives to Seaquest. This site is mostly at a depth of about 40 feet and features a fairly flat profile of interspersed coral upon about five acres of white sand.  Five acres.

Once in the water sometimes I will get a short distance from the group as they continue their endless search for Sea Boogers (a non-scientific classification of creatures that I cannot distinguish even with my bi-focaled mask), and I search for things just a bit more visible.  Such it was this time when I noticed that the six other divers were hovering over, and becoming quite excited about an apparently empty piece of sand twenty feet off to the side. I swim over to see that Manon has discovered a speck. A dark speck, in a five acre patch of white specks. Then, while I am incredulously wondering what all the fuss is about, it moved! A speck that swims!

Back on Delfin, after the high fives and hooting calm down, I find out that Manon has found what is now termed “The Smallest Batfish Ever”, it’s on the board.

For size comparison, the delicate fingertip of Mickey Charteris, photographer

For size comparison, the delicate fingertip of Mickey Charteris, photographer

There is not much information about this fish, but (consider the source) here is the Wiki version:

The red-lipped batfish or Galapagos batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini) is a fish of unusual morphology found around the Galapagos Islands at depths of 30m or more. Red-lipped batfish are closely related to rosy-lipped batfish (Ogcocephalus porrectus), which are found near Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica. This fish is mainly known for its bright red lips. Batfish are not good swimmers; they use their highly-adapted pectoral fins to "walk" on the ocean floor. When the batfish reaches maturity, its dorsal fin becomes a single spine-like projection (thought to function primarily as a lure for prey). Like other anglerfish, the Red-Lipped Batfish has a structure on its head known as illicium. This structure is employed for attracting prey.

This is a very rare find for our area, with very few sightings ever! Given the incredibly small size of this specimen, we think that Manon is a shoe-in for “Find of the Week” here in West End.

A mature Batfish over a foot long. Nobody has said that all great finds are beautiful!

A mature Batfish over a foot long. Nobody has said that all great finds are beautiful!