Wild Fact #378 – Just Standing Around – Tripod Fish

Tripod Fish

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Earlier this week, we were studying an intriguing deep sea creature known as the Frilled Shark. Today, we are heading back to the ocean where we will be discovering another bizarre animal, the Tripod Fish. We will talk about their name in a second but I am sure you can guess the reasoning from the picture. This particular fish is found anywhere in the ocean between the northern latitude of 40 degrees and the southern latitude of 40 degrees. For some reason, they just love hanging out in this middle zone. While we are swimming around the bottom of the ocean, you will want to take some pictures of this unique fish so make sure to grab your camera – oh, and don’t worry about bringing your tripod, there is one down there already.

Tripod Fish – The Fish With Legs

As you can tell the Tripod Fish has three long fin rays, two protruding from their pelvic fin while the third extends from the lower portion of their tail. Oddly enough, the Tripod Fish will simply stand on these “stilts” for most of their day. Why? It could be that they don’t like lying down on the icky ocean bottom but I think the more appropriate answer is, food! Yes, the motionless Tripod Fish will just stand their all day waiting for the current to bring shrimp and small fish into their zone.

Tripod Fish

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The Pelvic Fins Come in Handy

The Tripod Fish has tiny eyes that are absolutely useless at 4700 m (15,400 feet) below the surface of the ocean. So how do they know when dinner comes swimming by? Well, they use their pectoral fins much like we use our hands. When they feel a scrumptious snack drifting by, they will use their fins to knock the poor unsuspecting animal into their mouth. I guess you can’t blame the prey since I would never suspect a tripod of eating me.

Not Quite Love at First Sight

One of the issues when you live in the darkest depths of the ocean is finding a suitable mate. To solve this issue the Tripod Fish evolved into a hermaphrodite (both male and female sexual organs). This allows our tiny, deep sea fish to create offspring all on their own. Of course, if they do happen to swim into another Tripod Fish then they will mate the standard way. This is an interesting approach to love but I guess it works for the Tripod Fish.

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