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The Rare Boney-Eared Assfish

The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, has a new specimen in its Finding Fishes exhibit, although it was caught ten years ago. Meet Acanthonus armatus, better known by its common name, the bony-eared assfish. Gavin Hanke, the museum's curator of vertebrate zoology, was with the group that caught the fish, the only one of its species caught off the North American coast.   

"It is an ugly fish. That's why I like it," Hanke said. "It's got a big bulbous head and a tapering body and flabby skin. It almost looks like a glorified tadpole. It felt very gelatinous and soft when we picked it up.

"It has a very large mouth, and off the back of the gills there are some very large spines that point backwards," he said.

"When we first found the fish there were six or seven of us on the deck of the boat looking at it, and nobody could even guess which family it belonged to, because we had just never seen one before."

The Finding Fishes exhibit is in the museum’s Pocket Gallery, and admission is free. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Royal B.C. Museum)


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