Today we have a walking fish from the deep waters of the Galapagos Islands who goes by the name of the Red-Lipped Batfish (because it’s far easier to pronounce than Ogcocephalus darwini). Though that last bit of the scientific name is a shout-out to Darwin, since he would have really loved this fish. Due to some incredible evolutionary adaptations to its fins, its able to “walk” along the floor of the sea. This is super helpful as they are actually terrible swimmers since their fins have effectively turned into legs.

To attract prey, the red-lipped batfish uses a shiny lure that comes out of its head once it gets really nice and close to its victim. This is successful in attracting many small delicacies such as crabs, mollusks and shrimp who are also apparently blind. As for the really red lips, some scientists believe that this is what males use to show off to females during mating season. Apparently “drag lips” are all the rage in this species and a female batfish likes a man who’s comfortable enough in his greenish skin to wear a little Jungle Red lipstick now and then.

Unlike many of these strange and unusual creatures featured this month, the red-lipped batfish doesn’t have any immediate threats and should be hanging out with us for a long time. Well, not with us, as most of use are not going to be walking along the seafloor anytime soon, but at least on the same planet. It’s quite comfort to know that somewhere off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, deep below the surface of the water, there’s a little fish walking around, wearing full makeup and patiently waiting for its next passionate kiss.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Green, Pyrrol Red, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’aqaurelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

68 replies on “The Red-Lipped Batfish

  1. Drag lips? OMG, I almost fell off the chair from laughing! I wonder if L’Oreal sells that shade because it is kinda pretty. Such an odd fish with legs and shiny things that come out of his head and irresistible red lips. The fish all the lady fishes dream of! You painted him superbly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG, he’s so ugly he’s cute! What an unusual creature! And yes, those ruby-red lips are something! Amazing that they can walk. I wonder what evolutionary advantage it gained by those “fee” over being able to swim. Fantastic doodlewash!! 😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luscious Red lips,
    lanquid eyes
    this guy’s in disguise
    not as a femme fatale
    but as a walking bat!
    Can you imagine that!
    A fish that doesn’t swimi
    Ogcocephalus darwini

    An identity crisis of the first degree
    he needs a psychoanalyst
    it’s not normal to be THAT carefree

    Liked by 4 people

  4. This is the craziest looking one of all! Love it! I literally laughed out loud when it popped up – and then to read your drag queen lip comments – OMG! Oh Charlie – you are a hoot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charlie, I don’t even care if you’re telling the truth here or pulling my leg with a bit of pseudo-biology – this was so much fun to read, reality doesn’t count. A fish for the drag strip, OMG. He is so ugly and clumsy, I guess a bit of luscious red lipstick is only a dab more unlikely than the critter hisself. Wonder what kind of cologne he wears? Probably Chicken Mist of the Sea.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol…thanks Sharon!! 😃💕That’s definitely his cologne!! It’s actually all true, albeit embellished and dramatized with ridiculous added descriptions that pop into my crazy head. I don’t think I could make up these creatures if I tried! But that’s why I love Nature! We share the same sense of humor! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Blimey!! That’s an almighty pout on those lips, there… and that glare; he doesn’t look too chuffed with his make-up if you ask me. Perhaps he wants more lippy? This is one of those where it just *has* to be some kind of joke, but then I google it and there they are! Mother Nature’s sense of humour knows no bounds, rather like your own. 😉 Lots of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks Jacob! 😃I really am telling the truth with these! It’s all fact which is always stranger than fiction. Though I agree… they don’t looked thrilled about the lips. It’s like a horrible mother applied lipstick involuntarily because she really always wanted a girl. Doubt you’ll be adding this one to your ever-growing menagerie. It would only frighten the seal.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! I’m not sure what words best describe the way this little character makes me feel …is he angry ? should I be scared? I’ve just looked up photos on google and gosh…it really does exist ..very weird one. Oh well, today I’ve discovered something new!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, I’m loving the red lipped batfish Charlie. You had me so intrigued I had to look this one up, totally fascinating. I found a video of this fish…oh my, so weird. I think you really captured the essence of this guy. While searching I came across the frog fish…equally weird. I’m amazed at all the oddities you have discovered and shared this month. Another awesome Doodlewash!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First thought: you have to have made this one up!! Then I googled it to to check and it appears nature was having some fun that day. You remember when everyone got upset by the ‘you can put lipstick on a pig’ about Sarah Pallin? If it had been ‘you can put lipstick on a batfish’, no one would have batted an eyelid (quite chuffed with that pun….).

    Liked by 1 person

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