Red-lipped Batfish

A Galapagos angler fish, the Batfish lies in wait for prey


A remarkable creature to look out for when you are enjoying your Galapagos 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 Galapagos diving cruise, or having fun on a snorkeling excursion on a naturalist Galapagos 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!

Photos of the Red-lipped Batfish

Fast Facts about the Red-lipped Batfish

  • It has very distinctive red lips
  • Endemic to Galapagos, 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

Where can the Red-lipped Batfish be seen?

Map Loading

All cruises to visit the Red-lipped Batfish