Bluewing Searobin: the walking fish that croaks like a frog

It walks on six legs, croaks like a frog and has fins that look like a bird’s wings.
Bluewing Searobin
Meet the Bluewing Searobin (Prionotus punctatus). This peculiar-looking fish belongs to the family of Scorpaeniformes – a diverse order of ray-finned fish, such as the Lionfish, which are characterised by a plate of bone running across each cheek.

Bluewing Searobin
The Bluewing Searobin has a short head and snout, and a large mouth that reaches under the front edge of its eyes.

Wing-like fins

When swimming, its large pectoral fins open and close like a bird’s wings in flight. The large surface area of the fins also allows the fish to glide short distances above the water surface, much like a flying fish.

Bluewing Searobin

Bottom dwellers

Growing up to 20cm long, the Bluewing Searobin is native to the area ranging from The Gulf of Mexico to Argentina. It is typically found on the sandy or muddy bottoms of the continental and insular shelves up to 200 metres deep, and occasionally over reefs. It feeds on shrimps, crabs, other crustaceans and fishes.

Bluewing Searobin

Croaks like a frog

In times of distress, such as when it is caught, the Bluewing Robin makes croaking noises similar to a frog by beating against its swim bladder.

6 spiny legs

Despite being a fish, the Bluewing Searobin also has 6 spiny “legs”, three on each side. These legs are flexible spines that were once part of the pectoral fin. During development, the spines separate from the rest of the fin, developing into feeler-like “fore legs” which they use to explore the sandy bottom in search of food.

Bluewing Searobin and Polka-dot Batfish
The Bluewing Searobin comes face-to-face with its tank mate: the queer-looking Polka-dot Batfish.

Here’s a clip of the Bluewing Searobin in our Seagrass Habitat:

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