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Top 10 - 2011

Pancake Batfish

(An image of Halieutichthys intermedius taken by one of its discoverers, Prosanta Chakrabarty)

Name:  Halieutichthys intermedius

Common Name:  The Louisiana Pancake Batfish

Family:  Ogcocephalidae

How it made the Top 10:  This species was discovered just before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 and its entire known distribution is in the region of the spill. It is also a remarkably hideous (in a good way) animal. It is flat like a pancake, spikey, hops on its fins and has huge bulging eyes. Its discovery and precarious existence due to the oil spill was the lead article on cnn.com and a number of other outlets.

Reference:  Ho, H.-C., P. Chakrabarty and J.S. Sparks. 2010. Review of the Halieutichthys aculeatus species complex (Lophiiformes: Ogcocephalidae), with descriptions of two new species. Journal of Fish Biology 77(4):841-869.

Type Material:  Holotype – American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York, USA.  Paratypes – AMNH; California Academy of Sciences (CAS), San Francisco, California, USA; Louisiana State University, Museum of Zoology (LSUMZ), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA and National Museum of Natural History (USNM), Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA.

Type Locality:  Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A., Florida, 29°31’N, 87°37’45”W.

Etymology:  The specific epithet, intermedius, refers to ‘intermediate’ character states observed in this taxon when compared to H. aculeatus and H. bispinosus in the complex.

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