This Weird 'Walking Fish' Has Scientists Puzzled

Colin Gorenstein
National Geographic, YouTube
National Geographic, YouTube / National Geographic, YouTube

New footage of a walking fish discovered in the waters off Bali, Indonesia, is causing a stir among scientists. In it, diver Emeric Benhalassa captures what appears to be a stingfish—an extremely venomous fish—scooting across the seafloor with a pair of tiny legs. National Geographic contacted a handful of scientists, asking them to identify the fish in the video. While most suspected that it was a member of the genus Minous, there was little consensus about its exact species. Variations among related fish species can be too nuanced for video footage to capture.

Of course, we already knew the ocean was full of bizarre creatures: Last year, a New Zealand family discovered a squat black fish that appeared to also have legs. This species was easier to classify: It was an Antennarius striatus, otherwise known as a striated frogfish or hairy frogfish. Scientists already knew about its relative, the psychedelic frogfish, which uses its fins to hop along the seabed.

As for the Bali fish, until a specimen is brought back for scientists to study, we won't know its species with certainty. But judging by Benhalassa's reinvigorated passion for discovering all the "enormous things" in our oceans, that might be sooner than we think.