Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Polka Dot Batfish

I had teased about a batfish video, but after reviewing the clip, I decided against it. My policy of protecting the privacy of my students forced me to put a hold on that video. I just felt one student in the mix might not be anonymous, and even though she probably wouldn't care, she's not in charge here.
Unless kids at my school are especially buddysome with Junior, they mostly don't know of Pure Florida and I like it that way.
There will be other batfish videos ... trust me. The one you're not seeing was a scene similar to the pic above, except a student was holding Batty, not me ... and there was lots of excited banter and questions with me explaining batfish structure and habits.
... kinda like the ray in "Finding Nemo".
Batfish are pretty common here and so slow that you can almost pick them up by wading and looking. Part of that is due to the fact that they tend to freeze when alerted.
They are in the angler fish group ... a pretty weird assortment of fish ... remember the deep sea angler in "Nemo"?
Thanks to Disney, my students picture deep sea anglers with spotlights atop their punkin heads rather than a dim bioluminescent glow.
Batfish are demersal, which means you hang out on or very near the bottom. For batfish, the operative term is ON the bottom. They walk about on those nicely adapted pectoral fins stalking small invertebrates and anything else small enough to fit in their tiny mouths.
They are bumpy not scaly and so unfishlike that the kids almost never see it as a fish when one pops up in a seine or cast net.
And then they ask, "Can we take it back?"
Back to our large classroom aquarium is what they mean.
I always say no, having learned my lesson on much earlier field trips like this. For some reason, batfish just do not do well in an aquarium. They refuse to eat, then wither and die so batfish are always a catch and release item on my trips.
Like the Ancient Mariner, (hey, who you callin' ancient?) I have a few batfish hanging around my neck from those early years and I don't plan to add anymore.


amarkonmywall said...

Rich is sitting here next to me singing the tune to Batman...We like him! (the batfish. Well, Rich too). It occurs to me yet again that I am not seeing the best parts of Florida as I cruise around Pinellas County noting establishments such as O'Boobigans Irish Bar. I think I'll head down to the Bay for a walk. Cool fish!
(My security word below today is "bativa." Heh.)

Thunder Dave said...

Now that is one freaky looking fish!

How big are your aquaculture tanks?
You might think about grabbing 2 of everything, sort of like an underwater Noah, before the oil hits!

Anonymous said...

Hey FC,

I wonder if this is where the expression Batfish Crazy comes from?

Oh wait....that doesn't sound right.

It's Batsh...oops....nevermind.



robin andrea said...

You and your students get to see the coolest stuff. Your photos make me miss living close to the ocean.

Floridagirl said...

Wow! Awesome Amazingness! That is one cool fish. Classrooms are for the birds.

Kimberly said...

This is a crazy fish...I've never seen it! Very cool!
BTW...I'm on the SE Treasure Coast. Love it here!

Floridacracker said...

O'Boobigans? Really? Thanks for keeping me abreast of the pub possibilities in Pinellas.

Could I borrow your cubits measure?

LOL ... you mean it's not Batfish crazy? I've been saying it wrong for years!

The diversity is mind boggling. Really. I'm boggled constantly in saltwater.

I agree, but the scale is so tipped the wrong way!

Hey! Welcome to Pure Florida! Glad you stopped by to comment. The Treasure Coast has great critters too even with all the development.

lisa said...

That is soo cool, thanks for sharing! I received my seeds, thank you and I will let you know how they do!

roger said...

aah. the ocean. such interesting life there. batfish...wow!

we will have datils growing this year.

Aunty Belle said...

what a cook teacher them kids have!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's a pretty creature (only to its mother!)

Valerie said...


J said...

Those guys get into clam bags, too.

I seem to recall a batfish doing rather well in one of the tanks in the back of Mr. Whitman's science trailer in Cedar Key, about a year or two after the high school building burned down.

Anonymous said...

Awesome photo, and I like how you are protecting kids too. My class in Maine will like seeing all this cool stuff.

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