Platax batavianus (Perciformes - Ephippidae) is a species of batfish which inhabits continental reefs from Madagascar to Indonesia and Australia. Juveniles of this species, like this one in the photo, are black with vertical white lines on body and fins; this zebra-pattern serves well as camouflage when sheltering with crinoids.
Adults are quite different, silvery, with only a dark bar through eye and another (faint) bar just behind head.
Zebra Batfish (Platax batavianus) Juvenile and Adult
Several species of batfish undergo a dramatic transformation as they mature into adults, changing both their shape and colouration. As juveniles, they elongated shape usually mimics leaves, algae and even some poisonous flatworm species, offering protection in their more vulnerable phase.
Louisiana pancake batfish belongs to the Ogcocephalidae family of batfish. It is native to the Gulf of Mexico, and was discovered in 2010. Pancake batfish are so named from their body shape, which is flattened
with an enlarged head and trunk giving a rounded disc shape. Their motion on the ocean floor, like other batfish, is described as being like a bat crawling. They feed on invertebrates, and use chemical lures to catch prey. They are small enough to fit in the palm of a human hand and are described as being as thick as a “fluffy pancake”.
Juvenile orbicular batfish (Platax orbucularis) resemble dead leafs to a T – from the rusty brown color of its scales right down to the very way it moves in the water, it puts up quite the skilled mimetic performance.
The different species of Batfish comprised in the genus Ogcocephalus (Lophiiformes - Ogcocephalidae) are marine tropical fishes with extremely long rostrum. They also have dark spots separated by pale lines that usually form a reticulum occurring in patches on the face and sides of the tail and in the pectoral axillae. The lateral line organs are in the cheek.
Most batfishes are strongly depressed for benthic life. In many species, pelvic and anal fins are relatively thick-skinned and stout for supporting the body off the substrate. They swim awkwardly but are capable of walking on the bottom using their large armlike pectoral and smaller pelvic fins. Batfishes are bottom dwellers and feed on small invertebrates and fishes.
There are 13 species in the genus Ogcocephalus, all of them occurring in the Western Atlantic, from Antilles to Brazil.
The longnose batfish is a species of batfish found at depths between 29 and 230 m in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas.
It has a flat triagular body like others in the family and the coloring
varies from yellowish to purple with pale, round spots and lips of
Also known as the dusky, shaded or red-faced batfish, the Pinnate Batfish is a species of spadefish (Ephippidae) that is native to the Western Pacific. Pinnate Batfish typically inhabit coastal habitats and can be seen in both shallow and deeper areas. P. pinnatus is an omnivore and will feed on a wide range of small marine invertebrates and algae.
Juvenile Platax pinnatus differ greatly from their adult counterparts and are instead an orange and black color. This is thought to be a mimic of poisonous flatworms.
The polka-dot batfish is an arrow-shaped fish in the Ogcocephalidae family with an elongated thin tail. It is dorso-ventrally flattened with round pectoral fins that sit flat on the bottom of the sea floor. It uses its pectoral fins and pelvic fins to “walk” along the bottom in a side-to-side shuffling motion. It can measure up to 380 mm from head to tail. The polka-dot batfish is native to the Atlantic coast of the United States with its range extending from North Carolina to Florida, the Bahamas and the Campeche Bank off the coast of Mexico. They have been found in waters up to 70 m deep, but most are found at shallower depths. The polka-dot batfish preys on juvenile fish, crabs, shrimps, molluscs,
and worms. It hunts by clinging to the bottom with its pectoral fins and
wiggling the moveable, modified dorsal fin beneath its rostrum to
attract prey. The rostrum also contains a chemical that helps attract the prey.
When the prey is sufficiently close, it snatches the victim with its
circular mouth. They sit and wait for their prey to come to them instead
of chasing after their prey. They are very stealthy and stalk their
prey before attacking. If approached by predators, the batfish bury
themselves in the sand with their pectoral fins or scurry across the
ocean bottom like a crab.