Of an estimated 1.4 -1.6 million marine species on Earth only 250,000- 300,000 (approximate figure) species are known to man. It comes as no surprise, when just one liter of seawater alone can host 20,000 different microbes.1,000 – 1,500 new marine species are identified each year!
With well over 16,000 marine fish species, these next 5 fish don’t even make a dent in the catalog of fish you probably haven’t even heard of but we thought we’d start somewhere. Here are some pretty Bizarre Fish you won’t forget that easily-
Aptly named for it’s resemblance to a crocodile, this unusual looking flathead species belongs to the flathead family Platycephalidae. This bottom-dwelling ambush hunter, feeds largely on smaller fish and crustaceans and is also known as De Beaufort’s flathead or crocodile flathead. It’s closely related to scorpionfish and stonefish. The crocodilefish is a mottled brown or green and grey color, ideal to camouflaged with their habitat, on a sandy or rubble sea bed. They are native to the western Pacific region including Philippines, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Palau, and even Indonesia. They can reach a length of 50 centimeters (20 in) and have very photographic eyes especially for underwater macro photography. Unlike actual crocodiles though, divers who come across a crocodile fish have little to worry about as the fish often remains very still, even if humans approach them.
Ocean Sunfish (Mola Mola)
This strange fish (yes, it is a fish!) that looks more like a gigantic rock or fossil is actually the heaviest known bony fish in the world. The Mola Mola, as the Ocean Sunfish is also known can grow up to 1.8 – 3.3m (5.9- 10.8 ft) and can weigh a staggering 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs)! Native to temperate and tropical waters around the World, this Pelagic fish can swim to depths of about 600 m (2,000 ft). This monster of a fish is seemingly docile towards humans and many divers have enjoyed the company of the Ocean Sunfish while Scuba diving. The fish however is not so loved by boaters as there have been instances of sunfish colliding with boats while surfacing causing significant damage to the boats. Ocean Sunfish can even jump out the water at the surface up to a height 10 feet (3 meters) in the air and land with a splash to shake off parasites that infest their skin. (For more read: Sumo Wrester of the Seas- The Ocean Sunfish (Mola Mola) )
The Sea Lamprey native to the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America and even found in the Great lakes of America is a weird looking jawless fish. It possess an almost eel like body, but unlike the eel its skeleton is made of cartilage rather than bone. This parasitic fish has an unusual wide oral disc similar to a suction-cup in place of its mouth and is filled with many small teeth arranged in circular rows. While the sea lamprey appears headless it actually has functional eyes and gills just like regular fish, it has a single dorsal and ventral finfolds. Sea lampreys grow up to 1.2 m in length, weighing up to 2.5 kg. They feed on a wide variety of fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and even some sharks usuing they sucker to latch on to the host preventing their blood from clotting until they die of blood loss or infection. Only one in every seven host fish will survive this deadly parasitic fish.
Named for its long, thin snout and body to match, the trumpetfish is a relative of the seahorse. Often spotted vertically to blend with vertical coral like sea whips, pipe sponges or sea fans, the trumpetfish is a master of camouflage. They can however sometimes be yellow or green, with blue or purple heads but can still easily change color. Trumpetfish ‘can grow over a meter in length, with its head representing about one third of that length. They are found pretty much all over in coral atoll reefs or in lagoons.
This one you mostly know by its Hawaiian name Mahi-Mahi, but the dolphinfish is no where related to the mammals everyone knows as Dolphins. Found in most temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, the Mahi-Mahi is a popular for sport fishing as they dwell close to the surface. They also average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb) and come in dazzling colors like golden on the sides and bright blues and greens on the sides and back. It’s meat is popular in restaurants which is where you have hear of it as Mahi-Mahi and not Dolphin-fish.