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Do Fish Have Hands?

Not all fish, but a species discovered off the coast of Australia has hands. The pink handfish uses its fins to crawl along the ocean floor rather than to swim. Only four species of the handfish have been collected for study, and the last time anyone saw one was 1999. Fourteen species of the fish have been identified, but they are not well-studied at this point.

More Fishy Facts:

  • The male cleaner fish, which provides a service to larger fish by nibbling parasites off their bodies, will punish the female cleaners if they interfere with a cleaning. The female interference can cause the larger fish to leave, interrupting the male's meal. He will chase her off to keep his larger fish happy and continue his meal. The male fish interfere with the female cleaners as well, but they don't respond with such punishment, likely because they are the weaker of the two.

  • The Pacific barreleye fish, often found off the coast of California and in warm, tropical waters, have a soft, transparent head. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found one of the only live specimens ever seen in 2004. The fish was discovered in 1939, but had only been seen once their soft heads had been crushed in fishing nets.

  • The swell shark, commonly found in the Pacific Ocean from California to Chile, will make a sound like a dog's bark when it exhales air from its stomach.
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