Temporal range: 55–0 Ma
Lutetian to Present
T. N. Gill, 1878
A handfish is an anglerfish of the family Brachionichthyidae, a group which comprises five genera and 14 extant species. These benthic marine fish are unusual in the way they propel themselves by walking on the sea floor rather than swimming.
Handfish grow up to 15 cm (5.9 in) long, and have skin covered with denticles (tooth-like scales), giving them the alternate name warty anglers. They are slow-moving fish that prefer to 'walk' rather than swim, using their modified pectoral fins to move about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands, hence their scientific name, from Latin bracchium meaning "arm" and Greek ichthys meaning "fish".
Like other anglerfish, they possess an illicium, a modified dorsal fin ray above the mouth, but it is short and does not appear to be used as a fishing lure.[dubious ] The second dorsal spine is joined to the third by a flap of skin, making a crest.
- Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: 560.
- Last, P.R.; Gledhill, D.C. (2009). "A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species" (PDF). Zootaxa 2252: 1–77.
- Pietsch, Theodore W. (2005). "Brachionichthyidae". Tree of Life web project. Retrieved 4 April 2006.
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