What If the Dusky Batfish Is a Superhero?

What if the dusky batfish hasn't just adapted a pretty sly way to survive, it's also saving parts of our planet!


What: The dusky batfish is a fish that uses batesian mimicry to fool predators into thinking they are are dangerous, poison worms instead of helpless, tasty fish.

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Who: Dusky batfish can be prized pets for aquarium owners, but they can be finicky in captivity and help our planet a lot more swimming in their natural environment.

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Where: Dusky batfish swim throughout the western Pacific Ocean, but it is the Great Barrier Reef, specifically where their super powers are getting put to work.

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When: The dusky batfish use batesian mimicry only when they are young and black with bright orange striping.

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How: Scientists studying the dusky batfish believe they could be the key to saving the Great Barrier Reef from the affects of overfishing because the dusky batfish eat up all the algae damaging the reef.

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Why: Why do dusky batfish only use their batesian mimicry superpowers when they're young? Because as they grow bigger and stronger, they can fight off predators face-to-face.

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Huh?: Have you ever pretended you were someone (or something!) you weren't in order to escape a situation? If you had the ability to use batesian mimicry, how would you use it?

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Wow!: You may wonder, why the "bat" in batfish? It all depends on when you're looking at a dusky batfish: not only do dusk batfish change colors as they age, they also transform their shape from what looks like a bat to... well, a fish.

Image Credit: Mobilis Divers


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