Basically the point of this post is that I think this photo is pretty funny, and I spent a fair bit of time combing through Gerald Allen’s Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-East Asia trying to figure out what this fish was. I also got significantly closer to this one than to the stonefish that I posted about a while back,
without being quite aware that it, bug eyes and pouty face and all, is listed on the University of Melbourne’s “Australian Venom Research Unit” page, with the description: “It is armed with two pairs of spines – two on its back and two on its sides. Despite its commonness, stings are infrequent and little is known about the effects of envenomation by this species, apart form (sic) the severe local pain experienced by the victim.”
How reassuring. You’ve done it again, Australia, and hidden a painful surprise within a fringy funny-looking underwater friend. At least this one isn’t deadly, or at least not to humans. Halophryne diemensis (probably) translates roughly to “banded salt-toad,” and like a toad this fish, the banded frogfish springs upon its prey with unexpected speed from a cumbersome head and body, but didn’t seem at all interested in the many divers who passed right overhead.
This post is dedicated to my beloved readers Ben, Camille, and Isabella, who are welcome to choose any topic or question they’d like discussed in a post! Thank you so much to everyone who puts up with my lame jokes and biological ramblings, and especially to everyone who has donated to the Vicky-Has-Internet Fund- all of your support is thoroughly appreciated.