Adaptable

Study reveals 11 bizarre fish that can walk on land

The cave angel fish, Cryptotora thamicola, has a strikingly unusual ability.

Not only can this fish swim, but it can also walk on land.

stellalevi/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Cave angel fish walking — more of a saunter, really. ScienceVio/YouTube

Technically, it remains underwater as the cave angel fish climbs waterfalls in its dark environment.

Humberto Ramirez/Moment/Getty Images

Cave angel fish are part of the hillstream loach family, found in Asia.

In a new study of these fish, researcher reveal 10 other species that have this uncanny power.

Chulabush Khatancharoen

Scientists used CT scans to analyze the bones of 30 hillstream loach species.

They found a specific adaptation in the pelvis that lets these natural swimmers take to the terrain.

Pelvic girdle of a cave angel fish. ScienceVio/YouTube

"These modifications are expected to provide a mechanical advantage for generating force against the ground."

—Flammang et. al

The adaptation is more common than researchers previously believed.

It has evolutionary significance as a link between watery habitats — where life began — and land.

Roy Bullock / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

There are other types of land-walking fish, like mudskippers and frogfish.

But only loaches use this unique method — and only the cave fish has been observed using its gift.

Read more about the bizarre animals of the marine world.

Share