The spotted handfish, endemic to Tasmania’s River Derwent in Australia, is a fantastic aquatic creature known for one human-like trait.
The fish ‘walks’ on its pectoral fins that resemble short arms with hands. Its unique locomotion and stunning variety of body spots give it a captivating, unmatched performance in the marine world.
The 5-inch-long spotted handfish still swims, even though it’s not its preference. The fish uses its unpaired fins when swimming. However, it’s more likely to be strolling along the river floor like the Tripod Fish with the grace of an underwater ballet dancer.
The Spotted handfish remains at risk of strutting its stuff on the sea floor
The Spotted handfish exclusively inhabits eight sites, all within the intricate waterways of the Derwent River.
Unfortunately, the spotted handfish holds a spot on the critically endangered list. The deepwater crawler is at a loss due to the sneaky Northern Pacific starfish, which envelops its prey by extending its stomach out of its mouth.
But the spotted handfish, Brachionichthys hirsutus, also remains a threatened species due to oil rigs in the Derwent River which further damage the ecosystem.
Successful breeding efforts are taking place in nearby Melbourne, Australian aquariums to help preserve this unique Australian anglerfish family.