Bathypterois grallator

Bathypterois grallator

This deep sea fish is known as the tripodfish, named after the three-legged stand often used for supporting a camera, or binoculars. Because that’s what it does - stands on three long legs:

Two much elongated rays protrude from each of the pelvic fins, as well as one ray protruding from the bottom of the tail fin. Most of the time, the tripodfish stands on its three fins on the bottom of the ocean, hunting for food. Here it stands, facing into the current, waiting for prey to drift by. The fish senses objects in the water with its front fins. These fins act like hands. Once they feel prey and realize it is edible, the fins knock the food into the fish's mouth.

Even though the fins are presumably quite stiff, researchers have been successful in surprising the fish into swimming, and then the fins seem flexible. Scientists have suggested that fluids are pumped into these fins when the fish is 'standing' to make them more rigid. The tripodfish has been found relatively widely in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans at 878 to 4,720 m depth.

16 species are recongnized within the genus, all resembling B. grallator. This species however  is the largest member of the genus, commonly exceeding a standard length of 30 cm, and reaching up to 43.4 cm.​

Scientific supervision: James Maclaine, Natural History Museum, London and Radek Sanda, Natural History Museum in Prague.