Australia: Rare pink handfish ‘walking on hands’ spotted

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA The photo shows another Australian handfish: the red handfish.  A bizarre fish that has ??? hands ???  for crawling along the seabed has been seen for the first time in more than 20 years.  The pink handfish was first seen since 1999 in the Tasman Fracture Marine Park (Credit: Mark Green / CSIRO Marine Research via Pen News) (Pen News ?? 25, ?? 15, ?? 10 online) (Contact editor @ pennews. co.uk/07595759112)

Researchers have compared spotting a pink handfish with finding a ‘needle in a haystack’ (Image: Mark Green / CSIRO Marine Research via Pen News)

A strange fish that uses hand-like fins to walk along the ocean floor has been seen for the first time in more than two decades.

Pink handfish are extremely rare, and this subspecies was last seen off the coast of Tasmania in Australia back in 1999.

Only four previous observations have been recorded, which has led to the unusual being being described as critically endangered.

Scientists were delighted when they made a ‘needle in a haystack’ discovery last year.

They saw the elusive handfish on a baited underwater camera immersed in Tasman Fracture Marine Park in February last year.

Marine biologist Neville Barrett said the find gave new hope for the species’ survival, which was previously thought to live at low tide.

Professor Barrett, who teaches at the University of Tasmania, said: ‘The biggest surprise was finding a pink handfish in the park at a depth of about 120 meters.

To view this video, you need to enable JavaScript and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

Until this observation, the species had only ever been recorded four times and was listed as a rare species under Tasmania’s endangered species law.

“This is an exciting discovery and offers hope for the continued survival of pink handfish, as they clearly have a wider habitat and distribution than previously thought.”

The pink handfish (Brachiopsilus dianthus) owes its name to its unique fins, which it uses to walk along the seabed.

On footage of the observation, the fish is seen moving its weight with its ‘hands’ on the ground.

Then it is disturbed by a rock lobster and darts forward and swims past the camera.

Ashlee Bastiaansen, also from the University of Tasmania, said it was the creature’s fins that caught her attention.

She told ABC: ‘I saw one of our rough videos and there was a little fish that appeared on this reef that looked a little weird. I looked closer and you could see its small hands. ‘

The huge sea reserve covers an area larger than Switzerland and contains a huge crack in the earth’s crust.

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA A bizarre fish that has ??? hands ???  for crawling along the seabed has been seen for the first time in more than 20 years.  The pink handfish was first seen since 1999 in Tasman Fracture Marine Park (Credit: Parks Australia via Pen News) (Pen News ?? 25, ?? 15, ?? 10 online) (Contact editor@pennews.co.uk / 07595759112)

The extremely rare subspecies was last seen off the coast of Tasmania in Australia back in 1999 (Image: Parks Australia via Pen News Source)

Strange and wonderful sea life is found at more than 4,000 meters depth, more than 12 shards stacked on top of each other.

The pink handfish is native to Australia only and is one of many endemic species in the area, according to Jason Mundy of Parks Australia, the state body that administers the country’s national parks.

He said: ‘Cooperation is the key to exploring this extraordinary naval park. Its underwater gorges and mountains contain a remarkable diversity and abundance of sea creatures, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

“This rare observation during a joint study with the University of Tasmania demonstrates the benefits of working in partnership with research institutions in the management of our marine parks.”

Get in touch with our news team by sending us an email at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check out our news page.

Give a Comment