Comprehensive Description

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Comprehensive Description

Histiophryne psychedelica Pietsch, Arnold, and Hall, 2009, the Psychedelic Frogfish, was described in 2009 from three specimens collected off Ambon and Bali, Indonesia. This new species differs substantially from all other known fishes in having a broad flat face, surrounded by thick, fleshy, laterally expanded cheeks and chin, with eyes directed forward; skin of the body thick and loose, forming conspicuous fleshy folds that envelope the unpaired fins; a remarkable pigment pattern of white swirling stripes radiating from the eyes and continuing back to the body and tail; and a set of behavioral traits not previously known in fishes. Instead of swimming, this fish crawls along the bottom and bounces like a rubber ball, jet-propelling itself by forcing water out of its gill openings. The published description of this new species made headlines around the world: TIME Magazine called it "The World’s Weirdest Fish," listing it among the top ten new species of 2009 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1945379_1944256_1944268,00.html) and NATURE included it among their picks for "Images of the Year" (http://www.nature.com/news/specials/2009/gallery/index.html). (T.W. Pietsch in litt., March 2010)

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