Gulf of Mexico Wildlife Series: Pancake Batfish

New marine species are being discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico enjoys a multibillion-dollar fishing and tourist industry. During the BP oil spill more research dollars flowed into the Gulf of Mexico than ever before. As a result, new information is coming to light. Researchers have discovered new species of flat fish rarely seen due to the dark depths of ocean they choose to inhabit. One of the new species is called the Pancake Batfish. They are called that because of the funny walk they use as they scoot along the oceans bottom, like a bat crawling across the floor.

One researcher, from the American Museum of Natural History, found that one of the newly discovered species only dwells in the area that the oil spill was in. He was concerned that if we are just finding these new species of fish in the Gulf of Mexico that there is much more diversity out there to be discovered.

The Pancake Batfish has a round flat body with a huge head and mouth that it can thrust forward with. They have fins they use like arms to drag themselves with to get around. These fins excrete fluid to lure their prey. They have been found at depths of as much as 13,000 feet, give whole new meaning to the words "bottom-dwellers." They hid themselves by coverin gin sand and due to their flat shape they resemble a pancake. Their favorite foods are clams, snails, crustaceans, scallops, worms and tiny fish on occasion. These new species in the Gulf of Mexico was discovered in 2010.

Picture found in Wikipedia