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FOUND: A Fish That Looks Like It Has Legs

The view from Motukiekie Island (Photo: Fuadounet/Flickr)

The Bay of Islands is on the northern island of New Zealand, almost as far north as it’s possible to go on that island. It has 144 islands, and it’s a popular spot for fishing, probably because it looks like paradise (see above).

This January (which is solidly in the middle of New Zealand summer), three people found a creature in the shallow waters of the Bay of Islands that they didn’t know quite what to make of. It had a stubby face, a feathery tail fin, and two appendages on its side that looked like legs. It’s the sort of creature that you could imagine flopping from the sea into the prehistoric muck and pulling itself onto land for the first time. 

Fish with ‘legs’, sent in for ID by Claudia Howse, Glenys Howse and James Beuvink.

Posted by Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on Sunday, January 10, 2016

The finders sent pictures of the creature to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tentatively identified it as a frogfish.

These fish don’t look much like typical fish: they’re stockier, and they can use their fins to propel themselves along the sea floor. When it wants to eat, though, it’s surprisingly fast—it captures its prey in 1/6,000th of second, the BBC says—so fast that the human eye can’t see it. One second the frogfish’s prey is in the water; the next, it is in the frogfish’s mouth.

Bonus finds: 118,000-year-old stone toolsmore secret chalkboards

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to [email protected]