Washington, April 3 : A new fish discovered in Indonesian waters off Ambon Island, is said to have human like features, with the ability to see in the same way that humans do.
Found by Buck and Fitrie Randolph, with dive guide Toby Fadirsyair, on January 28 in Ambon harbor, the fish has an unusually flattened face, with its eyes appearing to be directed forward, something which has never been found earlier in fishes.
Most fishes have eyes on either side of their head so that each eye sees something different.
Only very few fishes have eyes whose radius of vision overlaps in front, providing binocular vision, a special attribute well developed in humans that provides the ability to accurately judge distance.
In other features, the fish has tan- and peach-colored zebra-striping, and rippling folds of skin that obscure its fins.
It also has leglike pectoral fins, which might be used for walking.
Reference books were consulted, but nothing similar to the fish photographed in January was found. Seeking international fish experts eventually led the discoverers to Ted Pietsch, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.
"As soon as I saw the photo, I knew it had to be an anglerfish because of the leglike pectoral fins on its sides," said Pietsch.
"Only anglerfishes have crooked, leglike structures that they use to walk or crawl along the seafloor or other surfaces," he added.
Anglerfishes are found the world over and typically have lures growing from their foreheads that they wave or cause to wiggle in order to attract prey.
The newly found individuals have no lures so they seek their prey differently, burrowing themselves into crevices and cracks of coral reefs in search of food.
According to David Hall, an underwater natural history photographer, "Several times, I saw these fish work themselves through an opening that seemed much smaller than the fish, sometimes taking a minute or more to get all the way through."
"They must have pretty tough skin to keep from being scraped and cut, but there is no evidence of superficial injury or scars in my photographs," he added.
"Whether the new fish represent a new family will entail DNA testing and a close examination of a specimen," said Pietsch.