A Galápagos angler fish, the Batfish lies in wait for prey
What you need to know about the Red-lipped Batfish
A remarkable creature to look out for when you are enjoying your Galápagos cruise is the rather odd-looking native Red-Lipped Batfish. This unusual fish can be found in depths ranging from 50-300+ feet (15 to 100+ meters) and can grow up to around 10 inches (25cm) in length.
Batfish like to live on sandy or rubbly seabeds, and their highly modified pectoral fins allow them to 'walk' with ease over the ocean floor - very odd behaviour for a fish!
Although the majority of their time is spent on the seabed they do occasionally come to the surface and are also known to inhabit the edge of reefs. The Batfish tends to be found mostly on the west and south of the archipielago because it prefers colder water.
Being an angler fish, the Red-Lipped Batfish will display a fleshy growth on its head known as an illicium. It uses this to attract prey, including small crustaceans like shrimps, mollusks, and little fish.
Whether you are enjoying a Galápagos diving cruise, or having fun on a snorkeling excursion on a naturalist Galápagos cruise, you can spot the Batfish by looking out for its grey back - often with a brown line of dots on it running from its head to tail. Of course the other major feature is the famous blood red lips which give it its name. Many of our Galapatours cruise guests tell us it looks like the fish is wearing bright lipstick!
Red-lipped Batfish: Interesting facts
It has very distinctive red lips
Endemic to Galápagos, but also occasionally found on Peruvian coasts
They are not good swimmers, so depend on camouflage and their lure to catch prey
They have highly modified pectoral fins that allow them to "walk" across the uneven seabed