Rare Pancake Batfish Battered by BP Spill, May Not Make It

photo pancake batfish gulf spill
Credit: Prosanta Chakrabarty

The Louisiana pancake batfish lives in the deepwater, but maybe not for long. Another kind of Deepwater, the oil rig that exploded on April 20, threatens the survival of the little-known fish. The threat to the batfish is from underwater oil plumes, CNN reports. The Louisiana batfish also is known by the less catchy name of halieutichthys aculeatus, It lives on the seabed of the Gulf, about 1,500 feet below the waves. Massive underwater plumes from the BP-Deepwater spill have been discovered more than 40 nautical miles from the explosion site, at a depth of 3,300 feet, according to NOAA. The fish's home is in the eye of this oil storm.

Apparently, the batfish hasn't even been officially recognized as a species yet. What a shame. Maybe this fish could be the poster boy for real-deal measures to get us out of the fossil fuel race.

This bad news may remind you of a recent story on another threatened species, fish with hands. It turns out the threatened pancake batfish uses fins with elbows to move along.

The batfish has a flat, round body like a pancake, and is about the size of silver dollar. The fish moves in "mysterious ways," with foot-like fins that include an elbow, CNN explains. The fish uses its fins to hop across the sea floor. Enjoy it while you can.

According to our friends at Discovery.com, fish biologist Prosanta Chakrabarty at Louisiana State University discovered the species only a year ago in museum collections and has since caught several specimens.

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