Red-lipped Batfish – The Strange-looking Sea Creature

Photograph by Birgitte Wilms, National Geographic

The red-lipped batfish (Ogcocepphalus darwini) is an unusual looking fish from the Galapagos Islands. It belongs to the family Ogcocephalidae, whose members are commonly referred to as batfish.

This photogenic fish has red lips and fins made for walking the seafloor. The red-lipped batfish is one of some 60 species of batfishes. Like other anglerfishes, batfishes also use a built-in fishing rod snout, equipped with a retractable appendage, to lure prey close to their lips—which, by the way, appear far less conspicuous without a photographer’s flash.


The red-lipped batfish is a bottom dwelling fish. To move from place to place it has modified fins that it uses to “walk” across the ocean floor instead of swimming. The function of the bright red lips may be to enhance species recognition during spawning.


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