Skip to main content

Photos: The freakiest-looking fish

Queen angelfish

(Image credit: Photo: NOAA)

Queen angelfish is shown swimming near a reef.

Butterfly fish

(Image credit: Photo: Chris Huss - Florida Keys NMS)

The four-eye butterfly fish (Chaetodon capistratus) is one of hundreds of fish species which inhabit the reef environment of the Florida Keys. The butterfly fish mates for life and therefore you will often see two of them. If you can imagine two butterfly fish nose to nose, they look like a butterfly. It is easy to see how they got their name.

Scrawled cowfish

(Image credit: Photo: Frank and Joyce Burek)

Scrawled cowfish (Lactophrys quadricornis) - a member of the boxfish family.

Wolf-eels

(Image credit: Photo: NOAA)

Wolf-eels, Anarrhichthys ocellatus, have powerful jaws for crushing bivalves.

Smooth trunk fish

(Image credit: Photo: Frank and Joyce Burek)

The smooth trunk fish (Lactophrys triqueter) is usually black and white in color, but at the Flower Gardens, Texas A&M University fish biologist, Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens, has documented the discovery of this unusual color morph of the fish - now called the golden-phase smooth trunk fish. A specimen of the fish was collected to verify that in fact it was not a new species. It has only been reported at the Flower Garden and Stetson Banks.

Leopard toadfish

(Image credit: Photo: Karen Angle)

The leopard toadfish (Opsanus pardus) has a large, flat head and a large mouth with fleshy projections around it. They spend most of their time under a rock or crevice and feed mostly on mollusks and crustaceans.

Lingcod

(Image credit: Photo: NOAA)

Lingcod, Ophiodon elongates, a rare fish found on the west coast of North America, are an important commercial and recreational fish species.

Codfish

(Image credit: Photo: NOAA)

Juvenile codfish caught in a gill net.

Jackknife fish

(Image credit: Photo: Frank and Joyce Burek)

Jackknife fish (Equetus lanceolatus) are not commonly seen in the ocean. As juveniles, they are often misidentified as spotted drum - the drum has a spot on its' nose rather than the vertical stripe on the jackknife fish.