The Red-Lipped Batfish

Red-Lipped Batfish Doodlewash - watercolor sketch of the walking fish of the Galapagos Islands

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

 

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
68 Comments
  1. Carol 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks Carol!! 😃💕I didn’t find much info on this guy so I had to elaborate a bit to make a post! I’m sure L’Oreal sells it…just look for Batfish Red! Lol

  2. Jessica Seacrest 1 year ago

    Ohahahaha! He looks like he wants a smooch! This is a crazy looking creature. Nice job Charlie 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Jessica! 😃💕Lol…he’s sort of insane looking. I wasn’t even sure what I was painting. In the end it actually looks like the real thing though. Which is weirder still!!

  3. Kari 1 year ago

    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!! 😘❤️

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 😃💕 yeah…this might be the weirdest one yet! Definitely an interesting red pucker on this one. And I have no idea why he ended up walking…guess it’s the diet of bottom feeders.

  4. Wait! Is this a red-lipped batfish, or a caricature of DT?! LOL! Oh, Charlie! You’ve outdone yourself with this one, bro! OMG that expression is priceless. 😀

    • Author

      Thanks Sis!! 😃💜Haha!! It’s just a hairpiece away! Don’t think I didn’t consider it!! It was just a strange thing to doodlewash!! Hehe

  5. Wynne Arete 1 year ago

    It’s been so amazing to watch your development <3! Love love love!!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Wynne! 😊💕 It’s seems like I’ve been doodlewashing forever now, but it’s still only been 9 months. So much more to learn!

  6. Teri C 1 year ago

    I know I’ve said this before, but that is the weirdest one yet! Imagine seeing that walking around.

    • Author

      Hehe… Then I’m doing good if I can top myself with these! Each time I think I found the craziest one, another pops up!! Lol

      • Teri C 1 year ago

        Yes, you’re like the Pied Piper of weird creatures!

      • Author

        Lol…now there’s something I never expected to grow up to be! Awesome!

      • Teri C 1 year ago

        Lol

  7. Curious to the Max 1 year ago

    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

  8. Plover Lock 1 year ago

    It’s like a flat cactus with lipstick!

  9. Carmel Campbell 1 year ago

    The lipstick makes this creature …really like the touch of red in the legs.. Nice !!

  10. Jodi 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Lol…thanks Jodi! 😃💕 I was rushing to head to a show tonight so I had to go full on stream of consciousness with this one. I didn’t even remember writing that until I saw the comments. And I thought the Batfish was weird. 😊haha!

  11. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Love that shade of “Jungle Red”! Lol! 💋😍💋 Thanks for the chuckle, Charlie! ❤️💄❤️

    • Author

      Lol! Thanks Jill!! 😍❤️ I think it’s definitely his color! This thing is so weird…each time I look at it, it just gets weirder! Not sure how I’ll top this one! Hehe

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    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.

    • Author

      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! 😉

  13. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    What a hoot Charlie, interesting little creature. I look forward to the fun entertainment this month. 💕👀

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 😃💕 These are a far departure from last month’s creatures. This has to be the weirdest, but who knows what the final week will bring! Lol

  14. Arvind 1 year ago

    so much attitude, i love it. I like how you are able to bring out a personality in your wildlife drawings, and make it connect with your audience. Very cool

    • Author

      Awww thanks Arvind! 😃That’s high praise coming from you! Your illustrations are loaded with magnetic personality! Glad you liked this!

  15. Jacob 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      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.

  16. Rob 1 year ago

    The face only a mother could love.

    • Author

      Or apparently a female Batfish! Though it’s difficult to find the difference when you google it. It’s really slight…the males just have a bit more collagen.

  17. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    Romantic and weird both… Like some creepy stalker! Wow

  18. OMG….Charlie for me this is the weirdest yet, now that’s a name for a lipstick…..’ batfish red lips’. I am sure MAC would do so well with some new branding?💄

    • Author

      Haha… I agree.. this is definitely the top end of bizarre! lol And yeah… MAC needs to get their act together… that’s genius!

  19. kim881 1 year ago

    He’d make a fabulous poster or print.

    • Author

      Thanks Kim! 😃💕Hehe… I think he would be cool! Not sure I’d have any takers though. He’s been the least “Liked” of any of the series this month. Poor little guy! lol

  20. kathiwerner 1 year ago

    An amazing creature again, and fun to read about it!

  21. Jui 1 year ago

    Nice information as I was unaware of the existence of The Red-Lipped Batfish… thanks for sharing!

    • Author

      Thanks! 😃Hehe… I had never heard of it either before starting this series. Such wonderfully weird creatures to be found!

  22. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Seriously, you need to find someone to pitch these to an editor for a book. My favorite series yet! (K)

    • Author

      Awww… thanks! 😃💕 If I only had an agent… I wouldn’t know how to pitch anything like that! But so glad you’re liking this series, Kerfe!

  23. The Leaf Diary 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks! 😃 Glad you enjoyed this one… it’s funny how many people ended up googling to see if I was tricking them both here and on Instagram! Lol… nope… fact is stranger than fiction!

  24. The Leaf Diary 1 year ago

    I guess this month Doodlewash is the place to go to learn about the wild world 🙂

  25. Cathe 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe! 😃💕 Yeah it’s been a fun learning month for me… glad others are enjoying the ride! That frogfish looks awesome… might just have to add that to the list! Hehe

  26. lizintheshed 1 year ago

    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….).

    • Author

      Haha! That’s so true… you CAN put lipstick on a batfish! lol Love it! Though I don’t you’d want to ever get close enough to try. These things are weird! But as you can see… they actually do exist! Hehe

  27. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    Hahaha! Gosh, that looks like Jimmy Durante flattened, with lipstick! I have only one thing to say: good job weirding me out, Charlie! LOL! <3 😀

  28. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    My first reaction was OMG and then I laughed out loud. I am afraid at the expense of Mr. Red -Lipped Batfish. Way to go Charlie!! 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Susan! 😃💕 I’m sure this would not be the first time this guy has been laughed at! But it’s also a joyous laughter… Nature is funny!

  29. Tori 1 year ago

    Weirder and weirder but oh so brilliant! I guess it brings a whole new meaning to”trout pout” 🙂

    • Author

      Haha! It does! This was so ridiculous that I had to doodlewash it… funny that many people didn’t believe it was real. Thanks Tori! 😃💕

  30. brygydmyry 1 year ago

    Batfish crazy!

  31. artandmoondreams 1 year ago

    Challenging subject to paint, you did a lovely portrait…and very amusing description.

    • Author

      It’s just super weird isn’t it?! I couldn’t tell what I was doodlewashing! Lol But glad you enjoyed this one! Hehe 😃💕

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