There are more than 30,000 different species of fish occupying the oceans and freshwater. The beauty of fish that you see in aquariums and home collections is just a blink. Oceans are filled with captivating and rarest fish that you can ever imagine. In the same way, a large number of fish equipped with legs may be residing in the depths of the sea.
“Fish with legs” does not imply having proper legs as humans have. These are primarily fins that develop to play the role of legs. And there is a reason why fish don’t have legs. Fishes don’t need to walk around in oceans. They have fins to swim underwater and fulfill their needs.
They don’t need to come out of the water most of the time, and there barely seems a reason for fish to have legs. Even if they come out, their survival is difficult, and they can breathe only for a few minutes with their gills. Despite this fact being known to all of us, there are several mysterious fish with legs.
If you are curious to know about fish with legs, we have compiled a list of 7 top fish with legs in different sizes and shapes to exhilarate you with nature:
Handfish, a member of the anglerfish family, uses its fins as legs to walk on the seafloor. If you wonder why it is called handfish, look at its fins that actually look like cute little hands.
Mainly found along with Australia and Tasmania, these fish do not need to go on land for any purpose and use these hand-like fins for propelling themselves on the seafloor. Since they are not pro at swimming, they prefer to walk across the seafloor to fulfill their needs.
If you are curious to know more about this little creature, you may not find many details about it. Scientists also have limited information regarding this species, and this fact makes it even more attractive and mysterious.
Thymichthys verrucosus: You may get to know all about this creature in the future, but currently, scientists don’t have much information about it. It is also known as warty handfish.
Brachionichthys hirsutus: It is also named spotted handfish for its body is covered with spots.
Thymichthys politus: This is an exceptionally brightly colored fish that attracts the viewer. It is also named red handfish.
As the name suggests, lungfish can spend months or even years on land as they can breathe air. Despite having special fins that act as legs, they cannot walk on land.
They are developed uniquely so that special gills let them breathe in water as well as on land. Their unique fins that seem like legs help them walk across the lake floors.
Their unique fins and gills fascinate scientists because this is not a normal function for any fish. Thanks to their lungs capacity, they can survive poor conditions and live long.
You may have got the chance to know about lungfish for the first time, but they have been in the news for a long time. They are not newly discovered, and their fossil record shows their existence back to the Triassic period.
Lepidosiren paradoxa: Found in swamps of South America, it has an eel-like appearance, and little is known about it. Also, its fin shape isn’t that much developed for lake-floor walking.
Protopterus aethiopicus: One of the most beautiful species of lungfish, these fish are also known as marble lungfish for their attractive pattern.
Neoceratodus forsteri: This species of lungfish can grow as big as 95lb and looks amazingly outstanding walking on the lake floor.
Not really belonging to the fish kingdom; it can be mistaken as fish for its fish-like appearance. Its appearance matches fish due to its highly visible gills, but actually, it belongs to the neotenic salamander. A member of class amphibian that goes through metamorphosis but surprisingly has not lost gills or left the water. Under water, it’s mostly found in grayish brown color and can regenerate lost limbs and stay young throughout life.
It is also referred to as Mexican walking fish and stays in water throughout its life. You will rarely get a sight of this mysterious fish-like amphibian. However, you may have often seen it in aquariums, for it breeds easily in captivity.
A member of the anglerfish family, batfish have altered pectoral fins that resemble legs. Often found in the deep oceans, leg-like fins help batfish walk across the seafloor since its body is not specifically ideal for swimming.
If we look at its appearance, batfish is one of the oddest looking fish with a slim body and flat head. Scientists classify batfish fins as limb-like fins.
Although their natural habitat is the deep ocean, they are also found in shallower parts of water.
Ogcocephalus radiatus: This species has a toad-like appearance. Thanks to its strong fins that look like legs coming out of its body, the sides seem like it is walking.
Ogcocephalus corniger: Similar to Ogcocephalus radiatus, this species’ fins are distinctive and really have a leg-like appearance.
Ogcocephalus darwini: The protruding eyes and limb-like pectorals give this species a cute appearance. It also uses its fins to walk across the water and cling to places. It is generally found on reefs near Galapagos.
Mudskipper can be classified as a true fish with legs. These fish are also known as walking fish because they really walk on land. With over 30 different species of mudskippers, you may have seen one of them.
Unlike other fishes, mudskippers can walk on land and survive long periods. With such walking capacity, it seems like mudskippers are developing themselves to be called land species.
Not only are their pectoral fins developed to walk on land, but their tail is also different, enabling them to move quickly across the mud. Also, they are usually found along with the muddy areas near the sea.
Surprisingly, they don’t just walk on land; they do the walking with astounding speed and cover long distances. They can jump on trees and low branches. It turns out they can also jump up to 2ft on land.
When on land, they defend their territories along with other mudskippers. They disappear into the mud without a sign as they make extensive burrows in mud.
Boleophthalmus boddarti: This species has a large dorsal fin that catches the viewer’s attention.
Boleophthalmus caeruleomaculatus: This species is a blue-spotted mudskipper for its beautiful bright blue spots covering the whole fish. These spots are more visible when they are on land.
Periophthalmodon schlosseri: This species is a giant mudskipper that can grow as much as 11 inches.
Frogfish is one fish that you have probably already seen somewhere. They belong to the anglerfish family. Their legs are actually pectoral fins that are longer and more flexible than other fish with legs.
You can find them throughout the tropical, subtropical, and marine environments. They are also seen on marine reefs near islands. Apart from the ocean as their natural habitat, they are often caught for reef-keeping hobbies.
These tiny creatures capture their prey with strategy. They wait for their prey until it comes along their way. They camouflage themselves as it’s easy for them because of the weird appendage covering the whole body. With their thick and sturdy bodies, they open their legs and lure the prey close enough to bite. Or they wait until the prey comes in their range.
Antennarius pictus: A cute frogfish with a snub nose, short and thick body, and little leg-like fins. This species can be seen in a variety of brighter colors.
Antennarius striatus: This species is also referred to as hairy frogfish. It is caller hairy because of extensive hair-like growths on its body. These extensions also assist in camouflaging.
Antennarius maculatus: This species is quite fascinating for its variety of colors. It is also named a warty frogfish.
Recently, shark hunters found a fish off the coast of Madagascar that resembles a 420 million-year-old fossil fish that was thought to be extinct.
This fish belongs to the extinct population, Coelacanths that were once named “Old Fourlegs The fish is named four-legged for it has four fins that act like limbs. .”Coelacanths were once thought to be extinct until 1938 when they were rediscovered off the South African coast.
Overall, they have eight fins—–two dorsal fins, two pelvic fins, two pectoral fins, one anal, and one caudal fin. These coelacanths swim in the depths of the sea between 330 to 1,600ft. These fish have their bodies covered with spotted scales and can reach up to 6.5 feet in length.
You may have never imagined seeing a fish with legs. However, this is no longer a fascination. Fish with legs is a reality. The above-mentioned fish are just a few examples of fish with legs. Indeed, there will be several undiscovered species we may get to know in the future.