Episode 92 – Red-Lipped Batfish: Beauty Bats

“And today we’re talking about a fish that looks like a victim of the scream extractor machine in Monsters Inc.”

You might think you know anglerfish, but think again. He strides across the ocean floor luring his prey, his body a crude caricature of a much more well-adapted animal. He’s the hero Galapagos deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll learn about him, because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a red-lipped batfish.


  • This is an awkwardly shaped fish which is something like a bell, mixed with a frog, with a long triangular tail.
  • Except it’s nothing like that and just the weirdest.
  • It has a nasty little rostrum or illicium, probably for poking it’s little brother.
  • It’s a poor swimmer but its strong limblike legs are good for seafloor locomotion. More on that later.
  • It has two pectoral fins that come straight out of its chest.
  • Two other ventral fins come out at the sides and turn at a right angle toward the ground, in a way that is an affront to nature. 
  • The fish is brown, black, tan, and otherwise unremarkable to look at.
  • Except for one brilliant feature.
  • A pair of luscious, scarlet red lips that look like they were photoshopped on as a goof.
  • All in all, it is an animal that looks like everything is wrong with it.

Measure Up


  • 20.3 cm (8.0 in) in length
  • How many batfish go into the length of Ecuador Highway 5 ?
  • Hint: The highway goes across Santa Cruz Island and Baltra Island (55.8 km (34.7 mi)).
  • Answer: 274,824 batfish


  • 3 to 76 m (10 to 249 ft)
  • 76 m (249 ft)
  • How many depths go into the height of Fernandina Island (1,476 m (4,843 ft)), the third largest of the Galapagos Island?
  • Hint: The volcano on the island erupted in 2009, endangering some rare animals. Because the island has no human inhabitants, volcanic eruptions aren’t immediately reported. Lucky the lava flow subsided within hours.
  • Answer: 19 depths

Fast Facts

  • Batfish live is found the galapagos islands and off the coast of peru.
  • The fish is a piscavore and invertivore, which means it eats fish and spineless things like crustaceans, and shrimps. 
  • The are bottom dwelling fish that are usually found within sea sand.
  • They enjoy spending time on the edges of reefs at around 120 m deep.
  • They are thought to use their single spiny dorsal fin to attract prey species.
  • Their illicium, like their angler cousins, have an esca that emits a bright bioluminescent light that’s used to attract prey.
  • Their bright red lips are used for the same purpose that humans sometimes have bright red lips. To look foine. 
  • The lips are used to stand out when spawning.