The spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), an amazing creature that walks the ocean floor, is a rare Australian fish from the family Brachionichthyidae. It is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002. is the first Australian marine species to be threatened with extinction.
The greatest threats to the handfish appear to be siltation and invasive species. The Derwent Estuary where the fish lives is highly urbanised and industrialised, and a range of marine pests have been introduced through shipping. One key pest is the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis), a particularly large and voracious predator that is now abundant in the estuary. Studies by CSIRO show that the seastars eat the stalked ascidians that the handfish use to attach their eggs.
This surreal animals is Scotoplane globosa or “sea pig”. here, accompanied by a (probably) group of tanaid crustaceans.
Scotoplanes live on deep ocean bottoms, specifically on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, typically at depths of over 1000 meters. Scotoplanes are deposit feeders and obtain food by extracting organic particles from deep-sea mud
Sea pigs are a type of sea cucumber, belonging to the holothurian class of the Echinodermata phylum. Echinoderms include such other animals as starfish, brittle stars, sea urchins and feather stars.
Phylum Echinodermata; Class Ophiuroidea Geological Time: Early Jurassic, Pliensbachian Stage (195 million years ago) Size: Brittlestar fossil is 108 mm across Fossil Site: Starfish Beds, Eype, Dorset, United Kingdom