And God Created … The Psychedelic Fish

David Everson

  God has created a world of amazing living things for us to admire and appreciate. Many of us will never see most of them since they live in environments that are far from where we live or in areas that are difficult for most of us to visit. In one of those environments, the coral reef community in the “Coral Triangle” off Indonesia, God has created a fish that, in its color array and in so many other ways, makes us wonder at the thoughts of the Creator when he formed it. Let us spend a few minutes and look at this odd combination of features in a newly discovered fish, the psychedelic frogfish.

This fish has been known for some years, but it was never known to be a new species. Specimens were discovered in the coral reef several years ago, but recent DNA studies show, in fact, that it is a new species. Yet, when scientists began to study this frogfish, they were amazed at the many unusual features – from its movement to its colors. When observed alive in its surroundings, it could be described as a fist-sized tan and peach colored beach ball bouncing around on the coral.

With zebra type stripes running from its eye to its tail, it does not lack for colorful appearance. This prompted the scientists who named it to give it the scientific name, “Histiophryne psychedelica.” These colors give the fish an ability to hide on the corals, being visible only when it decides to “bounce” around the coral.

God did not stop with the psychedelic colorful frogfish’s unusual features. The psychedelic frogfish is the only known fish to “hop” or have a  “bouncing” movement.  This movement style is produced in the fish by several unique features. First, God created the tail of the fish curled to one side. This restricts the tail’s use as a rudder, which would direct the motion of swimming in most fish. Second, its fins are used for pushing off the corals when it wants to move. This pushing motion, combined with a jet of water expelled from tiny gill openings, allows the psychedelic frogfish to bounce around with seemingly little directional control to its movements.

You would think that this hopping could be hard on the fish, but, with its swim bladder to control its buoyancy and a body that has thick folds of skin and a gelatinous mass covering it, it is quite safe from the sharp coral. So, looking like a fist-sized multicolored beach ball, the psychedelic frogfish bounces without direction around the sea floor in search of food.

God has set the psychedelic frogfish apart from other fishes with one last feature. It has a flat face with eyes that point forward like a humans’ and a mouth that is capable of opening very wide. This wide, yawning mouth is necessary so the fish can capture its prey that swim in front of it and are sucked into its mouth along with the water it inhales. This rather odd appearance, its odd bouncing motion, and its colorful body, set the psychedelic frogfish apart as one of the truly amazing creations of the God of heaven. –Rt 1 Box 116A, Belington, WV 26250.

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