Red-Lipped Batfish Facts

Red-lipped batfish walk on the ocean floor.
Red-lipped batfish walk on the ocean floor.

The red-lipped batfish is a unique species of fish, which is found near the Island of Galapagos and Peru living in depths ranging between 10 to 249 feet. These unique fish have a close relation to another batfish known as rosy-lipped batfish, which are typically found around the Island of Cocos and off Costa Rica’s coast on the Pacific side. The red-lipped batfish is easily identified because the bright reddish lips which give the appearance of a makeup. Despite their weird look, the red-lipped batfish are harmless to humans. There are different types of batfish around the world, and all of them have compact bodies. They are categorized into either the Ogcocephalidae or Ephippidae family.

4. Physical Description

The red-lipped batfish are characterized with a light brownish and grayish color on the back, while the underside is white, which makes it perfect to blend with the floor of the oceans. There is a dark brownish stripe running from the head along its back reaching the tail. It has a brownish color on its snout, and as suggested by the name, it has bright red lips, which are almost fluorescent. Batfish are believed to have characteristics which resemble bats. They grow to reach 8.0 inches long. According to marine biologists, the red lips of the batfish could be used to identify species during spawning.

3. Behavior

These types of fish are not the best swimmers, and instead, they take a posture that resembles walking on the floors of the oceans using pectoral fins which are extremely adapted to walking. After reaching maturity, the dorsal fin changes and protrudes like spine, which is believed to use to attract prey. Like all other anglerfish, the red-lipped batfish has a unique growth called illicium on its head used primarily to lure prey.

2. Habitat and Range

Red-lipped batfish are typically found in the Pacific reaching depths that range between 10 feet and 249 feet and they are also found near the Islands of the Galapagos and off the coast of Peru. There are reports that some of the specimens of the fish have been found in fishnets in California, which are rare, and it is thought they could be a different fish species. Red-lipped batfish dwell at the bottom of the oceans, and they are typically found in the sands of the ocean floors, although, occasionally they come near the surface of the deep water. They are known to like dwelling at the edges of the reefs to the depths of about 400 feet.

1. Diet

The red-lipped batfish are piscivore and invertivore, feeding on tiny crustaceans such as the mollusks and shrimps. They also consume other smaller fish and worms. They are known to be voracious feeders.


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