An unusual sea creature that looks like a strange hybrid of frog and fish and even has some bird like resemblance at a certain angle, has washed up on New Zealand’s North Island.
It was found by family members Claudia Howse, Glenys Howse and James Beuvink as they were snorkeling close to shore in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, according to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.
Glenys Howse took a photo of the fish and sent it to the museum to ask for identification, spokeswoman Rebecca Edwards said by email Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning in New Zealand).
“This weird creature is likely to be a species of Frogfish, but we won’t know until we have a chance to examine it closely!” the museum said Friday on its Facebook page. “Frogfishes have the fastest bite of any vertebrate. Their mouths expand at the speed approaching a .22 rifle bullet – and that’s in a medium 800 (times) denser than air.”
Andrew Stewart, the museum’s fish expert, said by email that he would be thawing the specimen later in the day and would have an identification after examining the head.
The fish was found in about two meters (about six feet) of water close to shore on the northeast coast of North Island in the Bay of Islands.
Unbeknownst to the snorkelers, it was included in some kelp that was collected and put into the live bait well at the back of the boat.
“It was very alive when found but, sadly, it died before it could be re-housed in the Aquarium at Auckland (Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World), so it will now ‘live on’ as a scientific specimen in the National Fishes Collection held here at the Museum of New Zealand,” Stewart’s email said.