A strange fish with legs was found off the coast of New Zealand by a family earlier this month and sent to the Te Papa museum of New Zealand for analysis.
“This fish was caught when the family was holidaying on their boat around the Bay of Islands,” Andrew Stewart, collections manager of the museum, told the Daily Dot.
“The children apparently put some seaweed into the live bait well on the back of the boat, and when the mother cleaned it out she discovered this fish in there,” Stewart added.
The museum posted a picture of the dead fish on its Facebook page on Jan. 10 with the caption: "This weird creature is likely to be a species of Frogfish, but we won't know until we have a chance to examine it closely!"
On Jan. 19, the museum posted an update on Facebook, saying that the fish "has been identified as a striped frogfish (Ahtennarius striatus). It is very unusual in that it is completely black, with the only a trace of a pattern on the shaft of the Illicium (stem of the lure). There are competing theories around this: is it one highly variable species, or several? The tissue sample we took will help to answer this."
Stewart told the Daily Dot, “The last time this species was sent to us was 2008, which gives you an idea of how ‘rare’ they are here."
The frogfish is not be messed with. It can expand its mouth with the speed of a .22 bullet, giving it the fastest bite of all vertebrates, according to the museum.
Sources: Facebook (2), Daily Dot / Photo Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa/Facebook Screenshot