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
Red-lipped Batfish: Pictures from our travelers
Spots where the Red-lipped Batfish can be observed
Cormorant Point is on the northern tip of Floreana, and you'll land on a beach that sits between two volcanic cones. The sand on one of the beaches here has a noticeably olive-green color. This is due to a much higher than usual concentration of olivine crystals in the sand. Another beach is made up mainly of coral sand and is almost a brilliant white in comparison.
This Galápagos site has a large lagoon which is favored by flamingos, their pink coloring contrasting with the green sand. There is some good snorkeling here, and you can often spot rays in the shallows. There is a one mile hike available that takes you to higher ground and provides great views over the lagoon, and to both beaches on either side of the Point.
This is one of the only places in the whole Galápagos where night diving is allowed. Fondeadero means "anchoring site", and it's well names - this is the perfect place for a night dive as it's protected from the winds and currents. This makes it possible to enjoy night diving, and to witness a whole new side to Galápagos' undersea world.
Highlights to a night dive here include the chance of seeing the see glow gently with an eerie light, thanks to the bioluminescence of tiny plankton in the water when conditions are right. You've also got an excellent chance of being joined by Galápagos Fur Seals on your dives here.
Lobos Island is named after the colony of Galápagos Sea Lions that live here, but they aren't the only native Galápagos species that calls this narrow island home. You can see Galápagos Fur Seals basking here, and there is a nesting colony of Blue-Footed Boobies that come to Lobos each year to raise their chicks.
There are one or two short hiking trails that lead into the center of the island, and this is always a peaceful place to visit. Galapatours visitors tell us it's one of their favorite visitor sites to just sit and soak up the Galápagos atmosphere.
Back on the beach, the swimming and snorkeling is wonderful, and thanks to the island's position close to the main shore of San Cristobal, the channel between them is sheltered and the turquoise water is crystal clear. This is a Galapatours favorite spot, so speak to one of our Galápagos specialists if you want help choosing an itinerary that includes a visit to this special place.
Vicente Rock Point
Galapatours clients regularly rate Vicente Rock Point as one of the best snorkeling and SCUBA diving sites in Galápagos, or perhaps even in the world! There is no landing here, and snorkeling is done directly from the boats. The scenery around the Point is stunning - the remains of two ancient volcanoes made this formation, and the cliffs and caves around the bay provide an amazing backdrop.
The bay is well sheltered from ocean swells, making it ideal for snorkelers of any experience. The cold-water currents bring a rich stock of food to these waters, and the bay around Vicente Rock Point is often home to feeding frenzies, with groups of whales, dolphins, Galápagos Sea Lions, tuna, Blue-footed Boobies and other marine birds all feeding together, making for spectacular sights.
Many boats also take visitors on a panga ride along the shore, offering the chance to explore some of the caves and to encounter some of the other species such as Galápagos Flightless Cormorants and a small colony of Galápagos Fur Seals.